|Members of our IGEM team members were required to attend a pre-lab training offered by the Department of Biochemistry, the University of Hong Kong before gaining access to the labs. The training was divided into 2 sessions, including a talk and a laboratory inspection, which serve to ensure all our team members are aware of any potential dangers in the lab. The Department of Biochemistry has provided and maintained a safe environment, in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations for every team member.
A. Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of:
The answer is no. Before doing laboratory work, we attended the laboratory inspection along with a safety talk held by our safety chief to strengthen the awareness of laboratory safety in addition to our personal protection. Moreover, information pamphlets on safety issue have been distributed to all of our IGEM team members as a guide.
In general, we will be using E.coli strains DH10b and DH5a to conduct plasmid engineering. These strains of E. coli are not known to cause harm to humans as well as animals. According to the Biosafety manual of the World Health Organisation, these groups of bacteria belong to the “Risk Group 1”, and “Biosafety Level 1 – basic”. Nevertheless to play safe and avoid the spread of E.coli, it is our practice to collect bacterial wastes, used agar plates, eppendorf tubes, and other laboratory apparatus in separate containers and sterilize them by autoclave before disposal. Bacteria, therefore, can hardly be dispersed. Hence, there is a very low potential that the public will be harmed by our bacteria.
There is no way that our experiment bacteria can spread outside our laboratory. Thus, the external environment will not be contaminated by our experiment bacteria. This is actually a common feature in many other researches.