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Welcome to the ABRHS iGEM team ABRHS


Safety is an important process while doing laboratory work in order to stop cross-contamination, and keep the safety of our team members and others. Also, we kept the safety of the delicate environment in mind when disposing and handling certain substances.

In the 3A Assembly

Before each session of the 3A assembly lab, we had to clear our workspace of any equipment that may cause injury, obstruction of a normal lab workspace, discomfort of the lab runners, and generally, other laboratory labs that we did not want to disturb. With a cleared workspace checked, we washed down the work space with seventy-percent ethanol alcohol. This would ensure the existence of any microorganisms pre-existing in our workspace will not contaminate our apparatus and samples directly, or indirectly by means of secondary chemicals. Also, specific measure were taken so that the E. coli bacterium and other laboratory substances such as enzymes, buffers, or distilled water do not improperly escape into the environment, regardless of how it was used; if it was part of the lab or in the laboratory workspace, then it must be disposed of properly. This process includes properly disposing and ensuring proper post-treatment of pipette tips after every use of a unique substance to prevent cross-contamination of any substances and waste products. Members of our laboratory were required to wear surgical gloves when transferring materials to apparatus such as agar plates, glass test-tubes, Erlenmeyer flasks, etc. Gloves were also worn when handling such substances directly such as sterile glass beads, in order to reduce in-lab contamination and possible external leakage.

In the Project lab

At the time of the project amylase lab during the week of June 9, we will have specific safety protocols. This not only includes regulations described above in the 3A assembly lab, but also additional precautions since it is a slightly more complex and involved lab. Lab occupancy will be limited to having a maximum of 5 people in the small lab space at a given time. This includes intermediate times between major steps of the lab to take notes and clarify the following instructions for the next set of steps. A specific period at the end of each set of steps will be dedicated to record information so that the data may be in a format appropriate to other applications (i.e. the Lab page of this website), and appropriate disposal and hygiene protocols to each step, including discarding pipette tips, cleansing the workspace with ethyl alcohol, removing physical apparatus not needed for the next few steps, and washing skin that may have come into direct or indirect contact with lab equipment, such as hands.

iGEM Safety Questions

Researcher, Public and Environmental Safety

The organism we are working with is non-pathogenic k12 strain E. coli, which presents low individual and community risk. It is under Risk Risk Group 1 of WHO's(World Health Organization) Classification of Infectious Microorganisms by Risk Group. Our Labspace would be listed as Risk Group 1 under WHO's Relation of Risk Groups to Biosafety Levels, Practices and Equipment. Sterilizing chemicals such as ethanol and bleach pose some danger to individuals, for which gloves are worn. Such sterilizing chemicals are used to prevent the E. coli from escaping into the environment, but no serious danger will come if the transformed E. coli escapes. Also, the parts used for the transformation of the E. coli do not form threat to the environment.

BioBrick Part Safety

All our parts are listed under our research page by code from the iGEM registry of biological parts. None of these parts pose safety issues.

NSTA BioSafety Comittee
Following NSTA Regulations

Along with following safety regulations of our own, we followed the NSTA(National Science Teacher's Association)guidelines for safe laboratory practices handling microbes. This is a recognized protocol that our school's science department uses for safety in a laboratory experiment.

Only handling microorganisms with known sources

The only sources for such microorganisms should be from biologicla supply houses or university laboratories. The genus and species name should be known. Microorganisms should never be cultured off one's own body as they potenially are pathogenic.

Treating all microorganisms as potential pathogens

Any microorgansim may potenially present pathogenic properties. Students with comprised immune systems should not participate in such laboratories. Petri dishes should also not be completely open to the air.

Personal protective equipment and hygiene

Students should wear safety goggles, aprons, and gloves. Open-toed footware should not be worn, and any lose clothing or hair should be pulled back.

Washing hands

Hands should be washed before and after laboratory procedures to disinfect skin surfaces.

Disinfecting work areas before and after use

Either 70% alchohol or 10% bleach should be used to disinfect work areas before and after laboratory steps. Ethanol and any paper towels used to clean up the ethanol should be kept away from hot objects such as burners, so that any fumes do not ignite.

Sterilizing equipment

An autoclaving procedure should be used to disinfect equipment used before the labs. 70% ethanol and 10% bleach can also be used to sterilize.

Never pipetting by mouth

Liquid cultures should be transferred by a pipette bulb or a pipetting device.

Labeling everything clearly

Cultures, media, chemicals, and disinfectants should be clearly marked by name. Any hazardous substances should be clearly marked as well.

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