ECOTECH - Production durable et technologies de l'environnement

In-line Multiplexed Biosensing – COMBITOX


In line multiplex

A multi-parametric instrument for continuous measurement of toxic compounds

The objective of this project is the conception of a multi-parametric instrument for continuous measurement of toxic compounds. Biosensors modules will be developed and optimized starting from technologies developped in our academic research laboratories and will be transferred to an in-line measurement device in collaboration with AP2E company. A prototype will be set up in a water pumping station located in Sud Luberon. A marketing enquiry will help us to adapt the performance of the device according to the requirement of water-management professionals.

We’ve selected three types of “items” to be detected: metals (cadmium, mercury, arsenic, nickel, etc…), environmental or food toxins and pathogen microorganisms. The selectivity and sensitivity of biological systems will be used for the conception of the bio-sensors. The detection is based on the reporter gene technology (for the detection of metals), on the antigen-antibody interaction (for the detection of toxins) and the specific infection of bacteria by bacteriophage (for the pathogenic microorganisms). In each case, the signal is photochemical (fluorescence, bio-luminescence or chemi-luminescence), leading to a high sensitivity of the measure, moreover it will allow a steadiness in the technological device with the conception of a unique reading head able to integrate the different signals.




The aim of this project lies in the design of an in line multiparamatric device for water monitoring: COMBITOX. It aims at optimizing and developing biosensors based on technologies mastered in our 4 academic research laboratories and incorporating them in a single in-line detector tailored in collaboration with the company AP2E. A on field prototype will be installed at the water pumping station of the South Luberon “SIVOM”. A study of the market will be performed in order to adapt the performance of this tool to the needs of the different stakeholders in the field of water industry.

Our instrument will allow the bio-detection of bioavailable toxic compounds as well as micro-organisms that can impact human health via drinking water or that can affect the waters of animal husbandry (including fish farming), the environment or the ecology of biological stages of sewage treatment plants. Thus the monitoring of water systems (potable and waste) is central to this project. We are also considering the deployment of this system in the context of emerging threats such as bio-terrorism. We selected 3 families of compounds to detect : metals (cadmium, mercury, arsenic, nickel, etc. ..), environmental toxins and micro-organisms. The selectivity and sensitivity of biological systems are exploited to the design of such biosensors. Detection is based on the technique of the reporter gene under the control of an inducible promoter (for metals, for example), the antigen-antibody interaction for toxins detection, and infection by a specific bacteriophage for the détection of bacteria. In all cases, the detected signal is photochemical (fluorescence, bio-luminescence or chemiluminescence), which leads to a high sensitivity of the measure, and insure a uniformity for the detection with a single photodetector incorporating the various signals .

Our consortium involves several academic research laboratories belonging to CNRS, INSA, CEA and Ecole des Mines d'Alès and an industrial society (AP2E), based in Aix-en-Provence and specializes in designing instruments for metrology environment. The academic laboratories are responsible for upstream research (identification of gene signatures, characterization of antigen-antibody pairs, isolation of phage specific to bacterial targets), for the development and the adaptation of the bio-detection (development of antibody molecules -like). The manufacturer is responsible for the technological study (sampling, signal measurement, packaging supplies) and the integration of components into a prototype that will be tested on site. The support of various stakeholders in the field of water quality and environment underlines the need to develop such a project (several letters of support are attached to the project). The progress of the project will be managed through a monitoring committee which will involve all of these partners. We design our project as a specification leading to an industrial application, thus integrating the concepts of cost, usability, practicality and regulatory constraints

Project coordinator

Monsieur David Pignol (Divers public)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.



Help of the ANR 999,677 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2011 - 36 Months

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