Laboratory safety is paramount in ensuring a productive work environment. Prior to entering the lab to begin our project, our lab team attended two laboratory safety presentations where they were briefed and trained in maintaining safe practice in the lab.
With regards to our project, The RNAs we used in our project are well categorised and do not pose a threat to the public nor our lab workers. Our model organism used, E. Coli is typically low risk, falling into ‘Risk group 1’. E. coli typically inhabits the human colon, via ingestion however under good lab safety practice, this shouldn’t be an issue. E. Coli bind the mucosal colon surface firstly by the production of specific glycocalyx or fimbriae from the bacterium surface. Glycocalyx bind specific lectins on the enterocyte lining of the human colon. E. coli K12 is defective in several cell wall characteristics.
It's outer membrane has a defective lipopolysaccharide core which interrupts attachment of O- antigen polysaccharide side chains. It does not contain glycocalyx needed to attach to mucosal surfaces of the human colon due to altered O -antigen properties and K12 do not express capsular (K) antigens which are important in colonization and virulence. (Kuhnert et al 1995) Therefore, cannot colonise the human colon under normal conditions and K12 cannot under normal conditions colonize the GI tract of animals, negative results noted in mice, pigs, chickens and calves.
K12 has not shown to have negative effects on plants (U.S. Department of Agriculture) Therefore, K12 is very unlikely to pose a hazard to animals, plants or microorganisms. Our plasmids do not pose any threat in toxicity or harmfulness and are adequately safe for transport and storage.