Team:Baltimore Bio-Crew/Safety


About our Lab

Our lab is a community laboratory that is open to any skill level. The lab invites amateurs, professionals or just anyone interested in science. Due to this, our laboratory is a level one lab, in order to protect those working inside the lab, the general public and environment.

Lab Safety

  1. Laboratory Bootcamp
    • Since we have different skill levels on our team, every member must participate in a yearly bootcamp.
    • The bootcamp allows team members to experience a laboratory setting and experiment with different commonly used lab tools, such as a pipette. The new students are supervised by the senior team members and by the laboratory’s directors.
    • Also in the Bootcamp, team members learn the basics of biology and how to use safety equipment in the laboratory. Each member had to pass a test on where each piece of safety equipment was and what it was used for.
  2. Community Lab Safety Rules
    • Wear proper lab equipment (gloves, goggles, and closed-toed shoes)
    • Disinfect the labspace (Sterilization, Disinfection, Antisepsis, and Cleaning)
    • Follow chemical safety procedures
    • Maintain a neat and well organized work environment
    • Use bleach to sterilize unused cultures
    • Keep food and drinks out of the lab
    • Dispose of chemical waste in the proper trash bin (chemical waste bins)

Project Safety

  • Instead of using Ideonella sakaienisis in our laboratory, we used the K-12 strain of E.coli that was genetically modified to express the enzymes PETase (chlorogenate esterase) and MHETase (lipase). The K-12 strain of E.coli is a common bacterium used in laboratories while as Ideonella sakaienisis is fairly new in laboratories. Also, the enzymes we are expresses are not harmful and each team member knows the proper way to handle these enzymes in E.coli to prevent contamination.
  • Since our bacteria may switch plasmids with other organisms in certain environments such as the Inner Harbor, the Baltimore BioCrew has decided to use alternative methods. The first would be containing out bacteria while also adding a kill switch. The kill switch would allow the bacteria to self-destruct if it detected the slightest malfunction, or escaped into the environment. The second option would be containing our bacteria in a bioreactor, where it would degrade any plastic added into the reactor.