The safety aspects of the Mag-nano-tite were of utmost importance for our project. We have ensured that we have complied to the safety guidelines in all areas of our project.
Safety in Project Design
We have chosen to use a safe lab strain of E. coli (K-12). In order to maximise our understanding of these particles we took special attention to read the relevant literature (Kumari et al 2015) (Berry et al 2003).
Safety in the Future
The future uses of our nanoparticles may involve the magnetic nanoparticles being introduced to drugs for localised drug delivery. Steps must be taken to ensure the E. coli cells are well contained during the production of the nanoparticles. To avoid exposure to the environment, preventative measures will be established such as secure containment within a device or process. If used in medical applications, thorough trials will need to be conducted to ensure that the drugs are delivered as desired and there are not dangerous side effects after use.
One of the keys safety aspects we have identified for future applications of our project relay closely to the size of the nanoparticles that would be generated. Magnetic nanoparticles that would be used for drug delivery must be large enough to be maintain superparamagnetism, yet small enough to prevent the aggregation of the nanoparticles. Safety precautions would need to take place in order to regulate the size of the nano-particles produced to ensure they are the correct size.
Safe Lab Work
Our project enabled the use a vast range of protocols therefore, in order to assess the potential for hazards we performed detailed risk assessments for each protocol and each piece of equipment. A good number of the machines and equipment we used during the course of the project were new and unfamiliar to many of us. In order to address this, we received training on how to use these pieces of equipment safely. By assessing the risks each protocol and piece of equipment we used we were able to take measures to minimise the risk.
Following good lab practices was of utmost importance to Team Kent. We took special attention to ensure that the all members of the team that were based in the lab followed standard laboratory practice as articulated by the University of Kent School of Biosciences. Lab coats were worn when in the laboratory, hair was tied, gloves and other protective clothing such as goggles were worn. We were trained and practiced the correct disposal of waste.
We have followed all the iGEM submission requirements to ensure the safe shipment of our Biobricks. Our Biobricks contain MamX, MamP, MamT and MamO, proteins from Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense bacteria to syntheise magnetite nanoparticles in Escherichia coli. Subsequently, we have submitted dried, plasmid samples using the shipping kit provided. We then sealed the plate with adhesive foil whilst ensuring that full contact was made with the wells of the plate. The plate was sealed with a plastic lid and we shipped our Biobricks with a tracking number. We ensured the package contained the samples and they were clearly labelled DNA.
- Madhu Kumari, Charles U. Pittman Jr. and Dinesh Mohan. (2015). Heavy metals [chromium (VI) and lead (II)] removal from water using mesoporous magnetite (Fe3O4) nanospheres. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 442 (1), 120-132.
- Catherine C. Berry and Adam S.G. Curtis. (2003). Functionalisation of magnetic nanoparticles for applications in biomedicine. JOURNAL OF PHYSICS D: APPLIED PHYSICS. 36 (1), 198-206.