TitleFish chromatophores as cytosensors in a microscale device: detection of environmental toxins and bacterial pathogens.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsChaplen, FWR, Upson, RH, Mcfadden, PN, Kolodziej, W
JournalPigment Cell Res
Date Published2002 Feb
KeywordsAnimals, Bacillus cereus, Bacteria, Chromatophores, Environmental Pollutants, Escherichia coli, Lactococcus lactis, Perciformes

Fish chromatophores from Betta splendens are used as the cytosensor element in the development of a portable microscale device capable of detecting certain environmental toxins and bacterial pathogens by monitoring changes in pigment granule distribution. The adaptation of chromatophores to a microscale environment has required the development of enabling technologies to produce miniaturized culture chambers, to integrate microfluidics for sample delivery, to miniaturize image capture, and to design new statistical methods for image analyses. Betta splendens chromatophores were selected as the cytosensor element because of their moderate size, their toleration of close contact, and most importantly, for their responses to a broad range of chemicals and pathogenic bacteria. A miniaturized culture chamber has been designed that supports chromatophore viability for as long as 3 months, and that can be easily transported without damage to the cells. New statistical methods for image analyses have been developed that increase sensitivity and also decrease the time required for detection of significant changes in pigment granule distribution. Betta chromatophores have been tested for their responses to selected pathogenic bacteria and chemical agents. We discuss in detail the aggregation of pigment granules seen when chromatophores are incubated with Bacillus cereus, a common cause of food poisoning. Also described are the more subtle responses of chromatophores to a class of environmental chemical toxins, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. We show that the chromatophores are able to detect the presence of certain polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons at concentrations lower than the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) 550.1 standards.

Alternate JournalPigment Cell Res.
PubMed ID11841070