Team:UniSalento Lecce/Safety



Here you can find our answers to the Safety questions.
At the bottom of the page you can find the links to Safety Forms and to our department safety guidelines.

  1. Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of: researcher safety, public safety or environmental safety?

    In the daily activities related to the project and to the development of our ideas, there were no risks in terms of security for the population, the environment and to our role as researchers. All this has been possible because we have always worked adopting all the measures provided for each laboratory procedure. In particular we can state that:

    • Our project has been fully carried out in a large, modern, and above all safe laboratory (BSL2, equipped with a chemical hood, a class IIA biological safety cabinet, and a specific place to manipulate agarose, polyacrylamide gels, and small amounts of ethidium bromide).
    • The laboratory has been cleaned and controlled every day by technicians of the department as well as by our supervisors, in order to ensure the proper use of equipment and the compliance with safety standards.
      Each member of the team, before starting work, took a course of training on current legislation in the field of occupational safety and risks related to the activity carried out in a chemical-biological laboratory (lasting six hours, with overcoming the final assessment) and another short course on the use of the equipment and the disposal of chemical and biological wastes.
    • All chemical and biological wastes were kept under a chemical hood in special containers waiting to be removed regularly by technicians.
    • All material used was always treated with 5% solution of sodium hypochlorite, and wastes were collected as "waste product from the health sector" to be sent for disposal by destruction by authorized companies.
    • We used the following chemicals (obviously under a chemical hood): acrylamide, ethidium bromide and nickel sulfate. The quantities used are sufficiently low as to render negligible the risk, in particular the nickel sulfate, in aqueous solution, was from a stock 10 ug / ul: we have used amount up to 3 ul, diluted in 100 ul, all for about ten essays. Also in this case the exposure is considered negligible.
    • We used the following personal protective equipment: gowns, disposable nitrile gloves, and when necessary FFP3 filtering facepieces and masks for eyes protection.
    • We used bacterial strains of E. coli harmless to health (risk group 1) as DH5a and BL21 (DE3). Despite this, we have always taken all the necessary precautions and we never brought the bacteria outside the laboratory.

  2. Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise any safety issues? If yes, did you document these issues in the Registry? How did you manage to handle the safety issue? How could other teams learn from your experience?

    None of the Biobrick parts we made or synthesized this year raises any safety issues. However, we discovered, from articles in the literature, that certain molecules present in different systems of Quorum Sensing as autoinducers (therefore belonging to the family of HSL) are suspected to accelerate apoptosis in macrophages and neutrophils and to interact with surface receptors of lymphocytes T and B. We point here then. These are the articles about the subject:

    1. Tateda et al., “The Pseudomonas aeruginosa Autoinducer N-3-OxododecanoylHomoserine Lactone Accelerates Apoptosis in Macrophages and Neutrophils”, INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, Vol. 71, No. 10, Oct. 2003, p. 5785–5793.
    2. Ritchie et al., “Modification of In Vivo and In Vitro T- and B-Cell-Mediated Immune Responses by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa Quorum-Sensing Molecule N-(3-Oxododecanoyl)-L-Homoserine Lactone”, INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, Vol. 71, No. 8, Aug. 2003, p. 4421–4431

  3. Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution? If yes, what does your local biosafety group think about your project?

    The University of Salento established, as provided by law, a prevention and protection service, also for Di.S.Te.BA there is a service department for security and for the management of special wastes (Se.Si.Ge.R.; / sesiger). The service follows the procedures concerning the security aspects, provides personal protective equipment, follows the practices related to health surveillance of personnel who work in the laboratories of the Department, organizes training courses on safety. We met with the coordinator of the service, Dr. Daniela Pacoda, to which we exposed our project was immediately very helpful and enthusiastic about our idea, so we worked all the security protocols, evaluated chemicals and strains bacteria to be used in the experiments, the disposal of laboratory waste and outlined the guidelines of all our work.

  4. Do you have any other ideas how to deal with safety issues that could be useful for future iGEM competitions? How could parts, devices and systems be made even safer through biosafety engineering?

    We propose to create software capable of evaluating the risks to the safety of every single project include its characteristics (experimental data, quality and quantity of chemicals produced or used, bacterial strains used etc ...) giving as input and output an assessment of the feasibility of the idea and the potential dangers that may emerge. In this way it would be easier for teams organize good security practices, while the organizers would have the advantage of knowing immediately the potential risks on which to focus attention. Similarly, you could take advantage of the computing approach and bioinformatics to predict the safety issues that a single participant may raise, again via a software for simulating the operation of individual projects.

Here the Safety Forms (Our forms were approved on October 3, 2013 by Evan Appleton): Basic, for HpNikR cds, for Hpn cds; our Department Safety Guidelines; Nickel Sulfate technical bulletin.

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