African Journal of
Microbiology Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0808
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJMR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 5230

Full Length Research Paper

Improvement of bioluminescent assay by combining with the cell growth kinetics for coliforms detection

  Anna Ilyina1*, Anita J. Casas-Reyes1, Karla M. Gregorio-Jauregui1, Erika Nava-Reyna1, Jose L. Martinez-Hernandez1, Nagamani Balagurusamy2, Federico Cerda-Ramirez3 and Yolanda Garza-Garcia1       
  1Chemistry School, Autonomous University of Coahuila, Saltillo, Coahuila, México. 2School of Biological Sciences, Autonomous University of Coahuila, Saltillo, Coahuila, México. 3Applied Chemistry Investigation Center, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 30 September 2011
  •  Published: 30 October 2011



The present study focuses on the improvement of limitations of the bioluminescent ATP assay. An attempt was made to improve on the following: non-selective detection, limited cell population density quantification, and to distinguish between bioluminescent noises data and cell ATP, as a suitable technique for coliforms and Escherichia coli detection, as well as other cell strains. Results were achieved by combining growth kinetics of the cell population exponential phase, in 2% brilliant green lactose bile broth with bioluminescent assay, based on the reaction catalyzed by firefly luciferase. The equations applied to the description of kinetics on exponential growth phase were able to estimate the relative light units (RLU0) corresponding to initial adenosine triphosphate (ATP0) concentration. The developed equations also help to distinguish between background RLU and RLU0 corresponding to cell ATP, and to analyze the kinetics with and without lag period in order to estimate RLU0. The results demonstrated a good correlation with data obtained by standard methods for coliforms detection. The quantification of E. coli and coliforms could be performed within a period of 6 h at 3.24 x 105 and 1.12 x 103 CFU/mL from the calculation of initial ATP concentrations at 19 and 0.067 pmol/mL, respectively. Monitoring of growth kinetic parameters along with the bioluminescent detection of microorganisms in the selective medium during shorter test time has potential for their selective and sensitive quantification. The mathematical approach may be extended to the analysis of experimental data obtained by other techniques based on the cell metabolite detection.


Key words: Bioluminescence, coliforms, Escherichia coli, exponential phase of growth, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) detection.