General Lab Safety
The laboratory we use is classified as Biosafety Level 1, which shows that the microorganisms we use are almost harmless to human beings. All biological waste will be sterilized with before disposal to make sure that no genetically modified organism is disposed of in the environment.
In our lab, the safety of researchers are ensured, eye washers/baths and personnel showers in easily reachable positions, installing fire alarms, having fire extinguishers and blankets are provided near the door, having vinyl floors and a ceiling which is inert, and paint on the wall that is easy to clean. There also have view panels on doors to ensure that the risk of accident or injury to researchers whilst entering/leaving the lab is mitigated.
Training and Precaution in Our team
Safety and Security training has been given to all students before any experiments. Instructions of experiments will be given to students beforehand. Advice and guidelines from the Faculty of Health Science of the University of Macau are provided. This allows the PI, Ms. Wai Man Cheong, who has been managing a laboratory in our school for decades, to oversee the iGEM team risk management procedures and receive suggestions from experts should it be outside their range of experience. Risk Assessment forms for individual procedures and guidelines for using chemicals were introduced to all students before the project lab experiment start. All experiments will be performed under instructions or supervision of instructors, technicians, professors, or teachers (all with appropriate higher education degree).
Rules of our lab
- No eating or drinking will be allowed in the lab to make sure no students accidentally eat any genetically modified organism.
- Toe shoes, contact lenses are also prohibiting from entering the laboratory.
- Liquid biological waste e.g. bacterial culture supernatants will also undergo heat inactivation by autoclaving. The product then can be disposed of via the normal drain.
- Sharps waste in sharps containers (e.g. needles, scalpel blades) will be disposed of via the clinical waste stream for heat treatment. Spills of biological waste will be cleaned with disposable paper towels and benches will be disinfected with 70% ethanol.
- Goggles and filter screens are provided to protect users' eyes from intense blue light.
- Also, safe use of lab equipment, e.g centrifuge, was demonstrated prior to allowing the use in the lab.
Lab in Macau
In Macau, there are guidelines from the government regarding biosafety in research labs, which will help us to manage the risks.
Project - Specific Biosafety
Only disabled laboratory strains of Escherichia coli that are incapable of colonizing the mammalian intestine (Chart et al, 2001) will be used. Disabled strains of E. coli are also not expected to survive in the environment in competition with the wild type strains.
The DNA constructs transformed to the recipient strains will not offer any particular survival advantage in the wild or introduce harmful genes, or gene products. The vectors used are not transmissible, limiting the potential for horizontal gene transfer. Constructs may confer antibiotic resistance to strains.
To avoid the release of resistance genes into the environment, all E.coli strains transformed with such constructs as well as solids and liquids that were in contact with DNA in general and constructs carrying the genetic information for an antibiotic resistance specifically will be inactivated by autoclaving and then disposed of.Prototype As we are going to do fire tests, our lab has set some rule for these tests
Rules of Fire Testing
- Before the experiment, check whether there are inflammable and explosive objects around, if yes, take it away.
- Although we are testing biological material, we should take off the gloves while the material is burning. (In order to prevent the toxic emit from plastic gloves while burning)
- Keep the air in circulation
- It is necessary to prepare fire blanket and fire extinguisher
- Also, safe use of lab equipment demonstrated prior to allowing the use in the lab.
ReferencesMacao Special Administrative Region Government Health Bureau Public health laboratory service. Clinical Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines(2009),