Publications by year


Publications by Authors

Recent Publications

Contact Us

Head of Institute: Prof. Ido Braslavsky

Administrative manager: Rakefet Kalev

Office Address:
Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition,
Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 
Herzl 229, Rehovot 7610001, ISRAEL

Tel: +972 - (0)8-9489385
Fax: +972 - (0)8-9363208
Email Address:

Whole-cell bacterial biosensor for volatile detection from Pectobacterium-infected potatoes enables early identification of potato tuber soft rot disease


Date Published:



Half of the harvested food is lost due to rots caused by microorganisms. Plants emit various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into their surrounding environment, and the VOC profiles of healthy crops are altered upon infection. In this study, a whole-cell bacterial biosensor was used for the early identification of potato tuber soft rot disease caused by the pectinolytic bacteria Pectobacterium in potato tubers. The detection is based on monitoring the luminescent responses of the bacteria panel to changes in the VOC profile following inoculation. First, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was used to specify the differences between the VOC patterns of the inoculated and non-inoculated potato tubers during early infection. Five VOCs were identified, 1-octanol, phenylethyl alcohol, 2-ethyl hexanol, nonanal, and 1-octen-3-ol. Then, the infection was detected by the bioreporter bacterial panel, firstly measured in a 96-well plate in solution, and then also tested in potato plugs and validated in whole tubers. Examination of the bacterial panel responses showed an extensive cytotoxic effect over the testing period, as seen by the elevated induction factor (IF) values in the bacterial strain TV1061 after exposure to both potato plugs and whole tubers. Moreover, quorum sensing influences were also observed by the elevated IF values in the bacterial strain K802NR. The developed whole-cell biosensor system based on bacterial detection will allow more efficient crop management during postharvest, storage, and transport of crops, to reduce food losses.