Team:AUC TURKEY/Notebook/Safety


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Before we do

Personel safety is one of the top priorities in the lab. Before starting lab work, we attended a lab safety training program provided by our teacher Mr.Bestepe. We were familiarized with the operation of lab equipment and nature of chemicals we would be using in the lab.

We used our team funds to buy disinfectant white medical uniforms. Before we enter the lab, everyone must put on the uniform and go through the disinfectant door to make sure that they are clean. Some chemicals may be harmful to human skin, so everyone is required to wear safety gloves, to isolate the reagents from our skin. When important and strict steps are required, we have to spray the alcohol on our gloves to be sure that our gloves are cleaned. These are universal precautionary measures.


1. Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of researcher safety, public safety, environmental or ethical safety?

a. Reseacher safety:
Everyone on the team obtained laboratory safety training through the Machinery of Life/Foundations of Molecular Medicine and Bioengineering CAPS Class and had experience with bacterial culture (in E.coli) and genetic transformation (inserting pGLO into E.coli) prior to beginning the project.

During the work, our team took the following safety precautions:

Lab coats, gloves and goggles were worn at all times.

All equipment (both disposable and autoclaved) was sterile.

1.     The bench and other work surfaces were sterilized with water and bleach before and after lab work.

2.     Because cyanobacteria can pose a risk if ingested, there was no food or drink in the lab.

There were no lit burners or other fire during lab work.

b. Public Safety: When released by accident, our parts and materials actually cause no damage to the general public. Due to the unability of E.coli strains, TOP10 and BL21 to survive out of the lab, they cannot pose any risk to the safety and health of the general public.

c. Environment: E. coli strains TOP10 and BL21 have very limited ability to survive outside the laboratory; so that, it would be unable to survive or disseminate. Therefore, there is no specific environmental risk associated with the E. coli strains. All bacterial wastes are kept in 10% bleaching solution for one day, and then, are autoclaved to be sterilized. Yet, undesired GMOs may achieve ecologically harmful features.

d.Ethical Safety

We recognize that our Lignin Peroksydase gene was isolated by Mr.Bestepe and that we only get use it per his permission. Accordingly, we have kept him informed on our work with it and the possibility of this gene becoming readily avaliable in the Standard Registry of Biological Parts.

2. Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise safety issues?

No, none of the BioBricks that were made by us this year raise any safety issues. They are a 100% safe for the environment, general public, and our team members handling them. 

Lignin Peroksydase is a comletely safe and common enzyme. Being in many organisms and commonly used in many applications, Lignin Peroksydase is still considered one of the safest enzymes. The DegradEcolor is nothing but an mRNA sequence which works as a simple DegradEcolors in organisms. The DegradEcolor won't even have the slightest effect on any external being.

3. Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution?

Our institution has its own biosafety rules. Rules for laboratory use, general principles, prevention from hazardous materials and application of emergency intervention in case of accident are included. In Turgut Ozal University Medical School, Laboratory and Patient-Employee Safety Committee is responsible for control as well as biosafety of laboratories and safety of patients and employees. This committee works under one of the vice medical director of Turgut Ozal University Hospital, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Gunduz. Safety and security issues are found sufficient enough that no change is considered as necessary. (Further questions can be directed to Prof. Gunduz, tel: +90-312-203 5103, Our advisor provided us with biosafety and lab training before starting our project. In the training, general safety rules of laboratory use, prevention from hazardous chemicals and solutions as well as emergency intervention in case of accident were included such as:

§  Eating, drinking, storing food and smoking are absolutely not allowed.

§  Mouth pipetting is not allowed; modern pipettes are used in lab.

§  Hazardous wastes and ordinary wastes are separated and cautiously disposed.

§  Lab coats are obligatory to wear in the lab and during on-going experiments.

§  In electrophoresis room, lab coat, protective eyewear, lab masks and gloves have to be worn. In the case of use of EtBr; extra caution is required.

§  Washing hands after any experiment and after touching anything related with viable material is obliged.

§  Air conditioning is kept closed during on-going experiments in order to avoid possible infections of spores and bacteria.


4. Do you have any other ideas how to deal with safety issues that could be useful for future iGEM competitions? How could parts, devices and systems be made even safer through biosafety engineering?

To deal with safety issues, for future iGEM competition, all Biobrick part should contian a potential knockout device. Also, Biobrick parts can be screened for potentially dangerous pathogens through the use of a variety of software that can be found at universities like Turgut Ozal UNİVERİTY Medical School.


Something dangerous

When we approach the operating floor, especially doing the electrophoresis (to separate the different part of the plasmid) and usually the gel we used was made of carcinogen. Therefore, when students are doing this step, we mustn’t touch the floor, even can’t get very close to it. Another harmful thing is the ultraviolet rays. Because the rays which used by lab’s equipment have strong radiation, so we can not obverse it directly, we have to use an idiosyncratic board to see it, in order to reduce the harm for our eyes.


Turkey has national biosafety regulations and the link is given as(