Team:Hong Kong HKU/Safety


Lab Safety

1. Please describe the chassis organism(s) you will be using for this project. If you will be using more than one chassis organism, provide information on each of them:

2. Highest Risk Group Listed:

All organisms we used in this project are in risk group 1.

3. List and describe all new or modified coding regions you will be using in your project. (If you use parts from the 2013 iGEM Distribution without modifying them, you do not need to list those parts.)

4a. Do the biological materials used in your lab work pose any of the following risks? Please describe. a. Risks to the safety and health of team members or others working in the lab?

The E. coli strain DH10B and BL21 was used throughout our project. Both are Risk Group 1 laboratory strains of E. coli that have a low, but not nonexistent, virulence. Organisms classified as Risk Group 1 are not known to cause disease in healthy adults. Keeping with registration requirements for Risk Group 1 bacteria, all laboratory work was performed in an environment certified for Biosafety Level 1. Hence, they pose low risk to the safety and health of team members or others working in the lab.

4b. Risks to the safety and health of the general public, if released by design or by accident?

These strains of E. coli are generally not resistant to antibiotics. All bacteria were transformed with bacterial plasmids carrying our desired insert gene and antibiotics resistance to antibiotics commonly used in laboratories for selection (ampicillin, kanamycin, chloramphenicol, etc.), but will not interfere with potential clinical treatment. Neither plasmids nor their insert genes will affect virulence, infectivity, or host range.

4c. Risks to the environment, if released by design or by accident?

We have no intention of releasing any bacteria into the human body or the environment at any point in the iGEM competition. Even if it did "escape' from our lab, the bacteria is effectively harmless; as stated above, neither our plasmids nor our insert genes will affect the virulence, infectivity, or host range.

4d. Risks to security through malicious misuse by individuals, groups, or countries?

The bacteria is effectively harmless, neither our plasmids nor our insert genes will affect the virulence, infectivity, or the host range.

5. If your project moved from a small-scale lab study to become widely used as a commercial/industrial product, what new risks might arise7 (Consider the different categories of risks that are listed in parts a-d of the previous question.) Also, what risks might arise if the knowledge you generate or the methods you develop became widely available? (Note: This is meant to be a somewhat open-ended discussion question.)

Our aim of this project is to use engineered bacteria to remove excess phosphate from water. It holds hope for utilization in sewage treatment or controlling phosphate levels in aquarium. Reaching that stage, we need to carefully control the engineered bacteria population. Overpopulation of the engineered bacteria might disturb the homeostasis in aquatic system by over-uptaking phosphate.

6. Does your project include any design features to address safety risks? (For example: kill switches, auxotrophic chassis, etc.) Note that including such features is not mandatory to participate in iGEM, but many groups, choose to include them.

We have not yet included any safety features in our project. But we will certainly include these in the future when we are moving in the next step of the project.

7. What safety training have you received (or plan to receive in the future)? Provide a brief description, and a link to your institution's safety training requirements, if available.

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 safety talk md laboratory inspection, which rise awareness of any potential dangers in the lab to our team members The Department of Biochemistry has provided and maintained a safe environment, in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations for every team member.

8. Under what biosafety provisions will / do you work?

Department Level:
University Level:Safety Office is the Biosafety Committee of the University of Hong Kong. We have departmental approval for our safety policies. (Http://
Government Level:

9. According to the WHO Biosafety Manual, what is the BioSafety Level rating of your lab? (Check the summary table on page 3, and the fuller description that starts on page 9.) If your lab does not fit neatly into category 1, 2, 3, or 4, please describe its safety features [see for help].

Category 1

10. what is the Risk Group of your chassis organism(s), as you stated in question 1? If it does not match the BSL rating of your labot=ratory, please explain what additional safety measures you are taking.

Our chassis organism E. coli B121 (DE3) is under Risk Group 1.