Patent applications filed by Giorgio and Valentina MANGIAROTTI

Technology overview

Dr Giorgio Mangiarotti conducted research on the molecular biology of Dictyostelium discoideum at the Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin at the time of filing.  Their patent application below discloses use of wildtype or genetically engineered Dictyostelium cells to detect toxic substances in the environment.  A preferred embodiment disclosed in the specification is use of E. coli beta galactosidase as the reporter gene in transgenic Dictyostelium.

Details of patent documents

Patent or Publication no. Title, Independent Claims and Summary Assignee and licensing information
WO 1999/009202

  • Earliest priority – 20 Aug 1997
  • Filed – 8 Aug 1998
  • Published – 25 Feb 1999
  • Expected expiry – not applicable
Title – Process to detect toxic substances in the environment

Claim 1
Process to detect toxic substances in the environment based on the use of a biosensor, characterized in that it includes the stages consisting in:

  • placing in an environment to be biomonitorized, such as air, ground, food, clothes, etc. a biosensor consisting of cells of a wild type strain or of genetically engineered strains of Dictyostelium in conditions apt to development;
  • leaving for 20 hr the cells in such an environment;
  • evaluating the morphology of the developing cells aggreagates or the expression of reporter genes.

The claims are generally drawn towards:

  • a process to detect toxic substances in the environment consisting placing cells of a wild type strain or of genetically engineered strains of Dictyostelium in an environment to be biomonitored

Definitions extracted from the description are:

  • Dictyostelium – a lower fungus (a myxomycete) consisting of ameboid cells which in nature feed on bacteria by phagocytosis
  • Genetically engineered strains (of Dictyostelium) – Dictyostelium cells in which a plasmid containing the gene of a reporter protein has been inserted… the reporter gene is fused to regulatory elements derived from different genes of Dictyostelium.
  • Evaluating – there is no definition/limitation for this term. For use of wildtype Dictyostelium cells ‘the morphological changes of cell aggregates will be followed’, whereas use of genetically engineered Dictyostelium cells ‘the presence of the reporter protein in the organism will be detected by nuke eye’.


Since this is a published application and not a granted patent, currently there are no enforceable rights.

No examples of transgenic Dictyostelium strains are provided in the specification, therefore enablement of this technology is unclear.


Via Pollicino, 10 I-10052 Bardonecchia, Italy


Via Gibellini, 4 I-10020 Pecetto Torinese, Italy

  1. National phase entries of WO 1999/009202 in Australia (AU 92592/98) and Europe (EP 1005568) have lapsed/deemed to be withdrawn on 11 May 2000 and 5 Sept 2001, respectively.
  2. Other related patent documents listed in INPADOC include Italy (IT 97840751).

Search strategy

Search details
Date of search 28 Apr 2006
Database searched Patent Lens
Type of search Simple
Collections searched AU-B, US-A, US-B, EP-B, WO
Search terms biomonitor and cadmium
Results 22
Comments Of the 22 results identified using these search terms, 3 results were identified as being of particular interest based on their abstracts and a review of their claims.