Rapid fluorescence-based measurement of toxicity in anaerobic digestion

Jian Lin Chen, Raphael Ortiz, Yeyuan Xiao, Terry W.J. Steele, David C. Stuckey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


A rapid fluorescence measurement based on resazurin reduction was developed and applied for the detection of toxicants/inhibitors to anaerobic digestion metabolism. By initially using a pure facultative anaerobic strain, Enterococcus faecalis as a model organism, this technique proved to be fast and sensitive when detecting the model toxicant, pentachlorophenol (PCP). The technique revealed significant metabolic changes in Enterococcus faecalis with a PCP spike ranging from 0.05 to 100 mg/L, and could detect PCP's toxicity to E. faecalis at a concentration of only 0.05 mg/L in 8 min. Furthermore, by extending this technique to a mixed anaerobic sludge, not only could the effect of 0.05-100 mg/L PCP be determined on anaerobic digestion metabolism within 10min, but also its rate of biogas production. These results suggest that a resazurin-based fluorescence measurement can potentially be incorporated into a microfluidic system to develop a biosensor for the real-time monitoring, control and early warning of toxicant/inhibitor loads in the influent to an anaerobic digestion system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Biosensor
  • Pentachlorophenol
  • Resazurin
  • Toxicity


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