Team:Freiburg bioware/Human Practice/Safety



About: Safety in the Lab

1.Would any of our project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:

-researcher safety,
-public safety, or
-environmental safety?

Standards for a Security Level 1 lab:

The lab where our iGEM team works, is a security level 1 lab according to the Gentechnikgesetz (law for gene technology). This means that the lab conforms to standards that our instructors introduced us to at the beginning of the project in April 2009. After a safety briefing for the group, we had a “safety-tour” through the lab while our adviser Kristian told us about the different chemicals we would be using, how to handle genetically modified bacteria and how to operate the different instruments like centrifuges and Bunsen burners. Furthermore, he showed us where to find the fire extinguishers, safety showers and eye showers and explained their handling. In the lab, we store highly inflammable materials and gas containers in a safety cabinet. When we were working with hazardous chemicals or genetically modified organisms we were wearing suitable protection gear such as lab coat, safety glasses and gloves. We disinfected our hands, the pipettes and the bench before and after working with bacteria and phages. Most of the material we use in the lab has to be sterile and was autoclaved before using. All the bacteria waste as well as all consumable that had been in contact with bacteria were collected in autoclave bags or containers and autoclaved before delivered to the waste containers to prevent an environmental contamination. While working with toxic stuff or reagents that are harmful to health, we additionally used a hood as working station. When using liquid nitrogen or working with UV-light, we were wearing safety glasses and gloves and handled our reagents with care.

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

In Germany, we have by law a safety officer in each lab/working group who controls the work as well as the lab notes.

3. What does your local biosafety group think about your project?

We made sure to follow all regulations described in the Gentechnikgesetz (law for gene technology) including the Gentechnik-Sicherheitsverordnung-GenTSV (gene technology safety-regulation), the Gentechnik-Aufzeichnungsverordnung-GenTAufzV (gene technology recording regulation) and the Gentechnik-Verfahrensverordnung-GenTVfV (gene technology proceeding regulation). Thus, we classified our work as safety-level one work.

4. Do any of the new BioBrick parts that you made this year raise any safety issues?

No, the E. coli strains, which we used for our experiments, have been deactivated, so that they aren’t anymore able to cause any contamination. Importantly, the E. coli strains we used are all non-pathogenic and non-adherent strains. The genes we cloned are coding for non-toxic and non-pathogenic proteins.