Our team worked at Level 1 and Level 2 laboratory. The bacteria we handled were the strains TOP10, NEB Turbo and DH5alpha of Escherichia coli, all of which are L1 security. Our genes were mostly L1 security also, aside from the Pseudomonas putida gene, which some sources consider it being L2 safety, and other mention it as L1. But the genes were free of pathogens, since it was synthesized, and the company only make it available if the sequence is pathogen free.
Whenever we used the lab, we always would have someone responsible alongside. Students were not allowed in anyway to execute tasks without proper instructions. All safety protocols standard to Level 1 and 2 security labs were strictly followed and the environment was kept always clean and organized. Emergency shower and eyewasher also in order.
Our transgenic bacteria would produce biodiesel, a flammable risk in potential. Therefore, the fire extinguishers and exits were always kept regulated and working properly, even tough our fuel would be produced in aqueous medium in low concentrations, presenting almost no risk at all.
Our project poses the common risks of working with Risk Group 1 microorganisms, which are not associated with disease in healthy adult humans. In addition, we are exposed to chemical risks when preparing mediums. In order to reduce those risks, we always use laminar flow hood to work with bacteria, always in a hygienic environment cleaned with 70% alcohol and sterilizing our biological waste. The working students must wear long pants and closed shoes to enter the lab. When preparing mediums, we wear lab coats and appropriated heat resistant gloves for the hot medium.
It is worth noting that since our bacteria would be kept under a closed and controlled enviroment, its design presented no need to worry about its application in nature. It is also fair to point that neither samples nor organisms have left our lab whatsoever