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Novel Biosensor Technology for the Determination of Bioavailable Iron in Aquatic Ecosystems

ABSTRACT<br/><br/>OCE-9911592<br/><br/>Despite increasing recognition that iron distribution and availability is significant in terms of global oceanic production, the biogeochemistry of this trace metal remains poorly characterized. In particular, it particularly desirable to develop techniques for estimating what portion of iron is available for utilization by the phytoplankton. In this project, scientists at the Bowling Green State University will construct a novel, genetically-engineered cell biosensor for use in the determination of bioavailable iron in the waters of the Laurentian Great Lakes. The Cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC7942 will be used for the construction of the biosensor, and biosensor response will be evaluated in short-term Fe-limited growth-rate experiments, iron additions, and in studies to investigate the influences of temperature and light. In the field, the research team will study the biosensor performance in on-deck incubations of water collected at discrete depth intervals as well as in in-situ deployments to discrete depths. Biosensor response will be compared to other independent chemical measurements of bioavailable iron. Once the technology is developed and perfected in the Great Lakes, it will be possible to begin development of a similar tool for seawater.

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