How will this experiment work?
Tuberculosis is caused by an infection of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis and damages the lungs in an individual. Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs are emitted from an infected person’s lungs as aerosols. These gasses contain certain compounds which can be indicated with a modified version of Escherichia coli or E. coli along with a breathalyzer. When the E. coli cells locate the tested compounds, a blue dye will be expressed which will demonstrate a rapid detection of Tuberculosis.
Potential risks or hazards
The tested strain of E. coli is classified as a Risk Group 1 level organism, meaning it poses very little to no threat at all when handled by humans. Using appropriate BSL (Biosafety Level) 1 techniques instructed by the PI, Dr. Nicholas Edgington, proper laboratory techniques and etiquette were used throughout the entire experiment such as:
Wearing clothing that covers exposed areas of the skin, this excludes the use of opened toe shoes
or any type of summer clothing that is unacceptable in a lab setting.
Properly washing one’s hands before and after working in the lab and wiping down used lab benches with 70% EtOH.
Having access to and using personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes safety glasses
or goggles, gloves, lab coats, as well as proper disposal containers for lab equipment.
Preventing the use of food or drinks at any time in the lab.
Using the appropriate lab tools on the bench and removing them when they were no longer needed.
Ethidium bromide, used for gel staining is a known mutagen. Gels and TBE buffer containing ethidium bromide were disposed of in separate containers from other chemicals.
Other Safety Matters
Will this experiment be used outside of the lab setting?
The details or data could be used in other laboratories but any cells, reagents, or any physical biomaterial will not be used outside of the university lab.