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Guideline for for working with bacterial cultures

This web page provides information on how to work with and dispose of bacterial cultures used in the WSSP research project.

Bacterial cultures: The bacteria we are working with is a non-pathogenic attenuated strain of E. coli that is normally found in our gut. It can not live without the special media that we grow it on and can not be spread. Students are a lot more likely to find more harmful bacteria on door knobs, keyboards and their cell phones that they use in every day life.

Although it is harmless, we recommend collecting the bacterial culture supernatant from the centrifugation in the first step of the plasmid miniprep protocol, as well as any unused bacterial culture, and adding Lysol, bleach, or alcohol (whatever you have on hand) to kill the bacteria. We also recommend to soak/rinse the used culture tubes and inoculation sticks in a dilute solution of Lysol or bleach before disposing them in the trash. The bench should be wiped down with a cleaning agent. The cell pellet collected in the plasmid purification will be rendered completely inviable during the miniprep. All other tubes and tips used in the project do not come in contact with the bacteria and so these steps are not necessary for disposing them.

In addition to the above procedures the following precautions should be observed.

1. Access to the laboratory is limited or restricted when experiments are in progress.

2. Mechanical pipetting devices are used; mouth pipetting is prohibited.

3. Eating, drinking, smoking, and applying cosmetics are not permitted in the work area.

4. Students should wash their hands: (i) after they handle materials and (ii) before exiting the laboratory