Glowing Worms Detect Indoor Air Pollution

Researchers at the University of Turku in Finland have developed a new use for green fluorescent protein (GFP). By utilizing transgenic strains of Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes, it is possible to measure indoor air quality. Contaminants in the air can be hazardous and cause various diseases if people are exposed to them. Currently, there isn’t any widely accepted method for measuring risks of hazardous indoor agents. This is why this new method is so important. It can be used to measure if there are any indoor pollutants that could prove dangerous to humans.

In the images shown below the one the right shows the nematodes that were exposed to black mold, while the ones on the left were exposed to clean air. The toxicity of the indoor air can be measured by the amount of fluorescence, but also by observing mobility and death rate. This new method can also be used to measure other air impurities indoors such as certain cleaning products or volatile compounds.


Sources: Press Release , Study