Safety is very important while we use E. coli in our experiment and project. Our safety part includes laboratory safety and safety of Detecoli.
Every member of TCFSH_Taiwan has finished required training courses offered by Environmental Protection and Safety Center before entering the laboratory. These courses includes basic laboratory safety instruction, laboratory emergency response, toxic chemical operation, toxic chemical management and biological hazard. After taking the courses, we have to pass the exam in order to get in the laboratory.
Safety of Detecoli
The external plastic wrap offers the first layer of protection. The plastic bag is thick enough to withstand pulling or crushing to a reasonable degree. According to experiments, a 0.1 mm thick PE plastic is strong enough to bear a bag of coins in it dropping from 1 meter to floor for more than 10 times. Thus, under normal usage, the possibility for the E. coli to escape is extremely low. Also, if the firm, thick plastic wrap were broken, we can legitimately infer that the terminating bubble inside would have been broken too, and thus will release the disinfectant.
Second, the antiseptic offers extra protection. The antiseptic we use is hydrogen peroxide, a.k.a H2O2. According to the APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology), a mere 6% hydrogen peroxide is an effective disinfectant, and can kill most of the bacteria in 20 minutes. To help users confirm that they do crush the terminating bubble, we put black ink in the H2O2.
Third, the E. coli itself is a safeguard against the hazard. Even if some tragedy happens and the E. coli leaks without being disinfected first, it’ll still die very soon due to the fact that we have transplant an alien gene in it, making it more vulnerable and easier to be killed when exposed to the outside environment. Also, the possibility for bacteria to mutate or transform is low enough to ignore.