We know that safety is the most important prerequisite for our project. Not only during the experiment, Think_Edu_China always place safety as the priority to keep ourselves and the environment safe.
As for an engineered strain of bacteria (e.coli) to enter the real world, its potential risk includes harm to human and animal species, specifically causing intestinal bacilli illness and altering the immune function. Our project designed a strain that encorprate a fragment of Laccase 6 gene, which purposely to break down antibiotics. However, our project specifically ensures that the engineered bacteria strain can not survive outside of the lab enviornment due to its optimal pH level and temperature.
Before the experimental, we learned the safety rules, including how to correctly operate the lab equipments and keep close eyes on the decomposition of lab substances preventing them from contamination. Since we are just high school and junior high school students, we chose a kind of relatively harmless substance, that is the main character of our experiment, the chassis, E.coli Nissle 1917. Moreover, we also used E.coli DH5 alpha and INP-N in the experiments; these three substances are all in Risk Group 1, which mean they have no potential disease risk to human and the environment.
Nowadays, with the with the increasing use of antibiotics, the overuse of it has becoming a serious problem. Many industries such as animal husbandry will give lots of antibiotics to the animals to ensure that the animals won’t get sick. In this way, antibiotics excreted by the animals will accumulate in the environment and finally influence our human beings and other animals. Our purpose is to find out a method that can degrade antibiotics. The process of degrading antibiotics could be used in living organisms in the real life. In our experiments, we choose laccase to degrade antibiotics. In this way, we can tackle the root problem, that is, reduce the antibiotics inside the animals’ body so that they won’t affect environment.
Think_Edu_China is made up of a group of high school students, and since some of us have never entered a lab before, we ensured that everyone correctly and safely operate the facilities. There are experiment instructor to guide us throughout the experiment. Although we are working wth probiotics, we still remain cautious to wear gloves and lab coats at all time
In some specific parts we also use alcohol burner to prevent other bacteria from entering into the isolated space.
In addition, we’ve been doing vitro experiments all the time. We cultured bacteria in the petri dishes inside the clean bench and didn’t bring out any object using in the experiments outside the lab. We did these is to make sure all the things that may pollute the outside environment could be kept stay in the lab and wouldn’t affect other living things and environment.
We choose E.coli Nissle 1917 as the chassis is because of its low pathogenic. Since it is a Risk Group 1 organism, it has non disease risk to human nor to the environment. In the reality, if we did actually eat a lot of E.coli by accident, it doesn’t have much effect on our bodies. The most possible result is that we will get loose bowels. There is nearly no harmful effect when a lot of E.coli is put in the outside environment, too. Then to the other kinds of main substance in our experiments: E.coli DH5 alpha, INP-N(Pseudomonas syringae KCTC1832) and laccase(Pleurotus ostreatus). These three substances are also in Risk Group 1, so they won’t have much harmful influence to other people and the environment.
thermore, In this experiment, we received bacteria on the sterile operation table. Before doing the experiment, we need to disinfect our hands with alcohol and light an alcohol lamp in the console for sterilization. The purpose of doing this is to avoid the interference of other bacteria to the experimental results and ensure the accuracy of the experimental results.
The study didn’t use any living animals in our experiments. We think that it is immoral to use the living animals as experimental subject. If our experiments have bad influence on any other living things or environments that are not related to the experiments, it is immoral, too. Members in Think_Edu_China all agree that ethics is the most basic fundamental of every biological experiment. So in our experiments, we never hurt any animal and never use any unfinished material on any animal. We are trying our best to keep all the places on the Earth outside the lab a safety one.