Safety and Prevention of Contamination in Microbial Culturing

Safety and Prevention of Contamination in Microbial Culturing

Safety in Microbial Culturing

Working with Microorganisms

  • Microorganisms can be harmful if they come into contact with skin, are inhaled, or ingested.
  • It’s vital to wear protective clothing, such as lab coats and gloves, while working with microbes.
  • Avoid eating, drinking, and applying cosmetics in areas where microorganisms are handled.

Precautions in Microbiological Techniques

  • Always sterilize lab equipment and working surfaces before and after experiments.
  • Dispose of biological waste properly, using autoclave if available.
  • Understand and follow the control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH) regulations.

Emergency Situations

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after carrying out experiments, especially before eating.
  • In case of exposure to harmful microorganisms, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Know where the first aid kit and safety data sheets for all used chemicals are located.

Prevention of Contamination in Microbial Culturing

Sterilization and Aseptic Techniques

  • Aseptic techniques help to prevent contamination of cultures from external sources.
  • Frequent and effective sterilization is crucial for clean cultures, and can be done by autoclaving, flaming, or using disinfectants.
  • Glassware and reagents should always be sterilized before being used to prepare media.

Handling Cultures

  • Always close tubes and bottles immediately after use to avoid exposing cultures to the environment.
  • Do not touch the inside of pipettes or lids that will return to the bottle after use.
  • Store cultures at the correct temperature to avoid the growth of unwanted organisms.

Observation and Testing

  • Regularly check cultures for contamination by observing colour, clarity, odour, and pH changes and performing regular streak plates.
  • If contamination is suspected, do not use the culture, but instead discard and sterilise the container.
  • Regularly test lab surfaces and personal protective equipment for bacterial contamination.