Implementing gene-based assays on a robotized genosensor for environmental surveillance in offshore marine operations

This project is addressing next generation monitoring technology to meet today’s and future regulatory demands as well as society’s acceptance to operate offshore in an environmentally-friendly manner. It includes an important level of novelty for the offshore industries, environmental managers and the scientific world. The use of DNA-based technology applied to the marine environment is increasing and can allow for quick on-site determination of environmental status. Here, we will use the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), a real-time unmanned platform enabling advanced DNA-based measurements at sea to detect changes in bacterial community used as signatures of environmental pollution by oil. Crude oil pollution affects strongly and rapidly the bacterial community composition with the dominance of some few oil-degrading bacterial species. Consequently, specific changes in bacterial community can be used as an effective biosensor for oil contamination in the marine environment and the ESP is a robotized platform enabling their real-time monitoring at sea. Based on previous work where a selection of oil-specific bacteria was made and DNA-based protocols existing in ESP tested to reveal and quantify these bacteria, this new study will explore further nucleic acids-assays and identification capabilities of the ESP for oil-degrading bacteria using existing and future analytical units of ESP like surface plasmon resonance (SPR).