Bioluminescence sensor systems were developed for monitoring environmental mercury contamination. The biological mercury measurement sensor systems were constructed by DNA recombination technique. A bacterial mercury-resistant operon (mer operon) from Pseudomonas sp. K-6y4 and a bacterial bioluminescence operon (lux operon) from an ocean bacterium Vibrio fischeri were fused in a vector plasmid. The resulting recombinant plasmids were cloned in Escherichia coli cells. The bioluminescence sensor systems responded to mercury chloride of 0.1 nM to 100 nM. The mercury bioluminescence sensor developed in this study can be used for monitoring of the bio-affecting mercury instead of total mercury that is measured by conventional analytical equipment. The fundamental feature of the bioluminescence sensor system is attractive for use as a monitoring system for bio-affecting environmental mercury contamination.

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