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An Improved AhR Reporter Gene Assay for Analyzing Dioxins in Soil, Sediment and Fish


Our goal was to develop a fast-screening bioassay to determine dioxin levels in the environmental and biological samples from dioxin-contaminated areas. Our original dioxin-responsive-element (DRE)-driven luciferase bioassay (using Huh7-DRE-Luc cells) was modified by reducing the incubation temperature of the cell culture from 37 to 35°C and by adding phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate, and the modified bioassay was used to examine samples from soil, sediment, and fish. The results of this bioassay were shown to be significantly related to those of the high-resolution gas chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry assay of dioxins. The correlative equation was: log (PCDD/Fs I-TEQs) = 1.19 × log (BEQs) − 1.15 with R2 = 0.95 (p < 0.001).

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The study was supported by grants from the National Health Research Institutes (EO-100-PP-03) and the Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL), Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), Taiwan (EPA-100-1604-02-01). The authors thank the researchers of EAL/EPA for analysis of PCDD/Fs with HRGC/HRMS.

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Correspondence to Tsui-Chun Tsou.

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Ya-Fan Wang and Tsui-Chun Tsou contributed equally.

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Chao, HR., Wang, YF., Wang, YN. et al. An Improved AhR Reporter Gene Assay for Analyzing Dioxins in Soil, Sediment and Fish. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 89, 739–743 (2012).

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  • Bioassay
  • Dioxin
  • Environment
  • Contamination