Team:CityU HK/notebook/safety


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The organisms we used for this project :


Strain no. / name

Risk Group

Any risk to humans?

E. coli K 12



E. coli K-12 is considered as having no or low individual and community risk. It is unlikely to cause human or animal disease.

The parts we used for this project :

Part number

Source of the physical DNA

What species does this part originally come from ?

Risk Group

The function of the parts

(Leaderless thioesterase)

City University of Hong Kong

Escherichia coli K 12


A protein that catalyzes the conversion of fatty acyl-ACP (acyl carrier protein) or fatty acyl-CoA to free fatty acids

(TetR repressible FadL & FadD generator)

City University of Hong Kong

Escherichia coli K 12


A TetR repressible construct encoding the FadD and FadL intermembrane proteins.
FadD: an intermembrane protein transport long chain fatty acid through the outer membrane into the cell.
FadL: an intermembrane protein converting long chain fatty acid into long chain acyl-CoA and transporting it through the inner membrane into the cell.

(Delta 15 desaturase)

Life Technologies Limited

Synechocystis sp. PCC6803


It encodes the delta 15 desaturase which catalyses the conversion of linoleic acid (18:2) into alpha-linolenic acid, ALA (18:3) by adding a cis-doube bond at carbon 15

General public Safety :

All E. coli strains used in this project are attenuated mutant strains that are unlikely to survive/propagate in the environment outside the laboratory as they harbour many genetic mutations in their genome.

To reduce the risk of biological materials escaping from the lab, all bacterial strains are kept and stored in designated refrigerators (before and after all experiments) in the supervisor’s (Dr. Richard Kong) laboratory which is not accessible to the general public. The lab where iGEM experiments are conducted is also not accessible by people of the general public because all lab workers need to be authorized to work in the lab and are required to carry a “Name badge”.

Environmental Safety:

Possible risks : Spillage of bacterial cultures or organic wastes/solutions
Solution: Spillages will be immediately dealt with in the lab using appropriate disinfection procedures (e.g. disinfection with antibacterial detergents) and wipe down benches surface with 70% ethanol.

Organic solvents, biological materials and wastes (microorganisms) and plastic-wares are collected in separate waste containers for collection by technical staff. Biological wastes are treated with bleach and detergent and subsequently autoclaved to kill off all live microorganisms.

What new risks might arise from our product growth?

If the product created in this project (ALA) were to be prepared or produced in large scale in a commercial setting, the product would be tested extensively beforehand using cell culture and/or animal models and finally in humans for their safety, toxicity, and mutagenicity before it can be certified for use as a health supplement.

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