BRAAVOO aims to develop innovative solutions for real-time in-situ measurements of high impact and difficult to measure marine pollutants. The concept of BRAAVOO is based on a unique combination of three types of biosensors, which will enable both the detection of a number of specific marine priority pollutants as well as of general biological effects that can be used for early warning. First, innovative bimodal evanescent waveguide nanoimmuno-sensors will enable label-free antibody-based detection of organohalogens, antibiotics, or algal toxins. Secondly, bacterial bioreporters producing autofluorescent proteins in response to chemical exposure will enable direct detection of alkanes or PAHs from oil, heavy metals, or antibiotics, and can further assess the general toxicity of the water sample. Finally, the photosystem activity of marine algae is exploited to monitor changes induced by toxic compounds.
BRAAVOO will construct and rigorously test the three biosensor systems for their analytical performance to the targeted pollutants. To enable low-cost real-time measurements, the three biosensors will be miniaturized, multiplexed and integrated into innovative modules, which allow simultaneous multianalyte detection. The modules will include all optical elements for biosensor signal generation and readout, the microelectronics for data storage, and specific microfluidics to embed the biosensors or cells, and expose them to aqueous samples from dedicated autosamplers. The modules can be used either as stand-alone instruments for specific marine applications or can operate autonomously and in real-time in an integrated form. Hereto, they will be embedded in a marine buoy and an unmanned surveying vessel. Vessels and stand-alone biosensor modules will be tested extensively and in comparative fashion on real marine samples and in mesocosms. If successful, the flexible and innovative BRAAVOO solutions will democratize and revolutionize marine environmental monitoring.