Team:KCIS NewTaipei/Safety


We work at National Taiwan University's Synthetic Biology and Biofabrication Laboratory under professor Hsuen-Chen Wu. Classfied as Biosafety Level 1, the laboratory is supervised by laboratory workers and is only appropriate for agents that pose minimal threat to people and do not cause disease in healthy adults. Specifically, we work with safe and common bacteria strains including E Coli Nissle 1917, DH5Alpha, and BLR21(DE3).

Under the supervision of a trained lab technician and following detailed safety guidelines, we treat all chemical solutions and laboratory microbes with caution. All wastes from our experiments are autoclaved or chimically disinfected before disposal; all equipment in the lab is carefully, respectfully, and mindfully handled.
Figure 1: The National Taiwan University’s Synthetic Biology
and Biofabrication Laboratory
Lab Safety
Bacteria Strain
The biological systems we use to test our project is E. Coli Nissle 1917, DH5Alpha, and BLR21(DE3). Classified as Risk Group 1 (DMS-6601) by the official German Central Commission for Biological Safety, EcN, BLR and DH5Alpha do not cause disease in healthy adult humans and would pose no or little risk to an individual or the community even if they escaped the lab (Midtvedt, 2009: Safety/Risk Groups - 2019.Igem.Org, 2019; Risk Groups, 2015). The bacteria wastes after experiments are autoclaved or chemically disinfected before disposal.
Product Safety
Safety of Probiotics
Probiotics have an extensive history of health-related applications largely related to the health and diversity of the human gut microbiome. The risk of adverse effects is low and only poses harm to people with severe illnesses or compromised immune systems. The common dosage of probiotics varies with different strains, but no evidence has suggested any potential harm from higher dosages.
The probiotics we incorporate in our project include E. Coli Nissle 1917, which is one of the therapeutically applied E. Coli strains that have been most thoroughly investigated (Midtvedt, 2009).

Safety of Butyrate
Butyrate benefits our gastrointestinal health with its anti-inflammatory characteristic and enhancement of intestinal mucosal immunity. Although some researchers argue that butyrate promotes obesity, most other studies have refuted the theory (Liu et al., 2018).
The dosage recommendation for butyrate is about 150–300 mg per day. However, since the epithelial and colon cells already have a high demand for butyric acid as the source of energy, users do not have to worry about consuming excessive amounts of butyrate when taking our product.
Moreover, the safety level, as well as the absence of side effects, were proved in the clinical trials of oral drug administration, which demonstrates that no side effects or other adverse reactions were observed even when the dosage is significantly (4 or 6 times) higher than the recommended dosage (Banasiewicz et al., 2020).

Safety of Fermented Food
According to Dr. Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, “most societies worldwide have included fermented foods as part of their diets” (Harvard Health Publishing, 2018). Assimilated into individuals’ daily diets, fermentation foods come in all different forms— from kimchi, kombucha, pickles to yogurt, tempeh, and sauerkraut. Recent studies have shown that fermented food has multiple benefits for human health. For example, one eating fermented foods starting from a younger age is more likely to train a diverse, high tolerance, and healthier microbiome as gut microbes remain relatively stable after a certain age. With high quantities of probiotics in fermented foods, it could strengthen the intestine walls and prevent them from leaking by creating a healthier mix of microbes in the human gut. Furthermore, common bacteria types found in fermented food, such as Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) also synthesize vitamins and minerals which could all present potential benefits to the human body (Şanlier et al., 2017).
  1. Banasiewicz, T., Domagalska, D., Borycka-Kiciak, K., & Rydzewska, G. (2020). Determination of butyric acid dosage based on clinical and experimental studies – a literature review. Gastroenterology Review, 15(2), 119–125.
  2. Biological Waste - Radiological and Environmental Management - Purdue University. (n.d.). Purdue University. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from
  3. Cohrssen, B. K. (2008, November 1). Probiotics. American Family Physician.
  4. Harvard Health Publishing. (2018, July). Fermented foods can add depth to your diet - Harvard Health. Harvard Health; Harvard Health.
  5. Liu, H., Wang, J., He, T., Becker, S., Zhang, G., Li, D., & Ma, X. (2018). Butyrate: A Double-Edged Sword for Health? Advances in Nutrition, 9(1), 21–29.
  6. Midtvedt, T. (2009). U. Sonnenborn & J. Schulze: The non-pathogenic Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917 – features of a versatile probiotic. Microbial Ecology in Health & Disease, 21(3–4).
  7. Probiotics: What You Need To Know. (2021, September 14). NCCIH.
  8. Risk Groups. (2015, November 13). Science Safety Security.
  9. Safety/Risk Groups - (2019). The International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition.
  10. Şanlier, N., Gökcen, B. B., & Sezgin, A. C. (2017). Health benefits of fermented foods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 59(3), 506–527.

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