Our labs are at Risk Level 1, meaning all reagents used in lab are well characterized and known not to cause disease within humans. These labs are equipped with safety showers, eye washes, and fire extinguishers if any emergency were to occur. All members have gone through extensive training to work in these labs, which included a detailed tour of facilities and numerous quizzes over safety standards. No member was allowed to be in lab alone unless under supervision of a graduate student.
Our labs used the following E. coli strains: DH10B, BL21, MG1655, JM109, and WM1788. All strains are Group I organisms, which have been proven not to cause disease in humans. In working with these organisms, we used fume hoods and ensured no contamination occurred through bleaching any area these organisms come into contact with. Gloves were worn at all times while in lab. Group members disposed reagents used in experiments into their respective waste bins for proper disposal.
We wanted to develop nitrogen fixation within E. coli to understand how this biochemical process could be translated to plants. To date, hazardous effects of introducing these genes into E. coli have not been observed.