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Safety Overview

Safety remains a paramount concern throughout our project, spanning the phases of project design and our routine laboratory tasks.

Lab safety:

The team received safety training from our PI and advisor, Prince and Elena Rosca. We also made conscious efforts to sterilize all equipment and benchtops before and after lab sessions to ensure the environment was clean and safe. Additionally, all team members, especially the Lab team, wore disposable laboratory coats, gloves, and goggles where needed to ensure no contamination into the body or the bacteria themselves.

Lab Rules

  • Clean biosafety hood
  • Clean benchtops with ethanol before use
  • Autoclaved glassware, tips, tubes, and media before use.
  • Bleach bacterial-infected tips and tubes before safely discarding them.
  • Chemicals were kept in safely locked cabinets.
  • Microorganisms, in our case bacteria, were handled under the biosafety hoods.


In our commitment to harness genetic engineering to detect lithium deposits in the environment, we understand the paramount importance of ensuring the safety of our biosensors' safety and the community's safety. We have implemented a multi-tiered security strategy to safeguard against the potential unintended release of engineered E. coli into the environment and avoid horizontal gene transfer. Our choice of the E. coli strain for this study is driven by its established safety record in standard laboratory settings, non-pathogenic nature, extensive genetic research, and ease of genetic manipulation. Safety remains at the forefront of our solution's design, with an evaluation of potential environmental hazards related to our bacteria and biosensor. To mitigate these risks, we have implemented four security layers or mechanisms to ensure there is no environmental contamination during the detection and extraction processes.





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[1] Tang, T. C., Tham, E., Liu, X., Yehl, K., Rovner, A. J., Yuk, H., ... & Lu, T. K.(2020). Tough hydrogel-based biocontainment of engineered organisms for continuous,self-powered sensing and computation. BioRxiv
[2] National Academies Press (US), “Correlates of smallest sizes for microorganisms,” Size Limits of Very Small Microorganisms - NCBI Bookshelf, 1999
[3] Birnbaum, S., Pendleton, R., Larsson, P.-O. & Mosbach, K. Covalent Stabilization of alginate gel for the entrapment of living whole cells. Biotechnology Letters 3, 393-400 (1981)