Safety is an essential consideration while doing any project. A project involving Synthetic Biology is no exception. Here at SVCE, we take every measure to ensure complete safety to the environment and also the the team members involved in the project.
Biosafety practices at SVCE
Certain basic biosafety measures include:
- Wearing a lab coat.
- Washing hands with soap after the work is done.
- Applying 70% ethanol on hands before and after doing lab work..
- Wearing shoes inside the lab.
Other essential biosafety measures that are followed at SVCE
- Using a laminar air flow chamber when handling biological samples.
- Wearing gloves.
- Wearing masks wherever necessary.
- Sealing all petriplates with parafilm.
- Regular fumigation of all the labs.
- Autoclaving and decantation are carried out regularly..
- Sterility checking is done for all agar plates, broths and chemicals that are used to any extent in a biological project.
- Sterility check strips are used during every autoclaving and decantation operation..
- To maintain safety of the lab personnel, all inflammable, toxic chemicals are stored in airy cupboards in a room that is placed far away from any possible risk of fire.
- All toxic chemicals are used only inside a fume hood.
- Extreme care is taken while handling such chemicals and there is always an expert supervision.
- The following materials are available at our disposal at all times:
- Chemical spill kits
- Protective clothing, e.g. heavy-duty rubber gloves
- Scoops and dustpans
- Forceps for picking up broken glass
- Mops, cloths and paper towels
- Soda ash (sodium carbonate, Na2 CO3) or sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3 ) for neutralizing acids and corrosive chemicals
- Sand (to cover alkali spills)
- Non-flammable detergent.
- Adequate ventilation is provided in all the chemical labs.
Safety of the people working in the lab is essential , but safety and preservation of the chemicals and samples involved is also equally important.
Some equipments and facilities that are available at SVCE to ensure this are listed below:
- A cold room..
- A fume hood.
- A media room, where all the chemicals and samples are handled.
- Laminar air flow hoods.
- A biosafety cabinet level 2.
- Shaker incubators.
- A distillation unit for distilled water production.
- A -20ºC freezer.
- An -80ºC freezer.
All this is well and good, but what in case of an emergency?
- Fire extinguishers are placed throughout the department.
- A medical ward is available for treating injuries if any.
And what about our iGEM samples?
- All of our iGEM parts , except for the peptides with arginine and tryptophan are derived from the iGEM registry.
- Even the peptides with arginine and tryptophan are proven safe(Wenzel et al). The peptides selectively target charged surfaces and hence bind with great selectivity to bacterial cell wall. But the peptides do not bind to animal cells as the animal cell surface carries no charge.
- The microorganisms that we use for the iGEM project are biosafety level 1 organisms Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis.