In this article we will discuss about the rules, precautions and basic requirements of a laboratory.
Laboratory Rules and Precautions:
A new worker in a laboratory must have an orientation before starting the work. The new worker should be given instructions as to how to operate major equipment including microscope, analytical balance and pH meter. The orientation should also include potentials for fire, broken glasses, spill of chemicals, cuts with sharp tools like scalpel, blades, etc. handling hazardous chemicals, UV, disposal of wastes like contaminated media and cleaning up of spills.
Some of the dos and don’ts are:
1. To wear an apron before you enter a laboratory for protecting the clothes that you wear.
2. Before starting work, clean the working table with disinfectants like 95% alcohol or dilute detergents like savlon or lyzol.
3. The table should have a notebook and only glass-wares and equipment that are needed.
4. Do not smoke, drink or eat in the laboratory.
5. In case of injury, either apply an antibacterial cream or inform your instructor.
6. When culture of an organism is spilt cover the area, treat it with ethyl alcohol (after putting off the Bunsen flame) or any other disinfectant for some time and then only clean the area.
7. Don’t work with open hair (ladies).
8. Turn off the Bunsen flame when it is not in use.
9. All microbial cultures should be handled with care.
10. Keep used liquid cultures, supernatants and glass-wares in autoclavable containers.
11. Discard contaminated plates and plastic containers in autoclavable bags.
12. Discard organic solvents (phenol and chloroform) in waste containers.
13. Do not pipette out broth cultures, concentrated acids and alkalies by mouth.
14. All culture tubes must be kept in upright position in baskets or stands.
15. Labelling of Petri plates, tubes, flasks, etc. should be done before starting an experiment.
16. Materials like chemicals, stains, reagent bottles, unused glass-wares, etc. must be replaced in their original place.
17. Tools like scalpel, forceps, inoculation needles, etc. that come in contact with cultures or agar medium (sterile) should be sterilised by making the portion that goes into tube or Petri plate, red hot on Bunsen flame, cool in 95% alcohol and flame heat it by passing over the flame to burn off alcohol.
18. Clean microscope lens before and after use.
19. Keep the doors and windows closed while inoculating or during transfer of sterile cultures.
20. Toxic chemicals should be handled with precaution and while discarding used ones they should be discarded in labelled containers. Toxic chemicals, besides organic solvents, include mercury compounds, some halogens, mutagenic chemicals, radioactive substances, etc.
21. Broken blades, sharp instruments and broken glass pieces should be disposed in separate containers.
22. First aid kits must be placed in each laboratory.
23. Portable fire extinguishers and a fire blanket should be kept ready.
24. Use specific toxic and mutagenic chemicals under fume hood.
25. Do not expose yourself to UV rays.
26. Wear safety glasses, (UV) gloves, masks, hot gloves and rubber aprons while handling concentrated acids and bases.
27. Clean the table and inoculation chamber. Wash your hands and then only leave the laboratory.
28. Prepare a flowchart prior to each experiment.
29. A laboratory report should be prepared for each experiment in the following format:
i. Name: Your name.
ii. Title of experiment.
iii. Date when experiment was performed.
iv. Purpose of experiment.
v. Methods used.
Do not copy methods from manual. Refer to manual and write the method on your own, the way you have conducted the experiment.
vi. Give reference of manual with page numbers.
vii. Place a flow chart at the end.
Complete description of what you have observed, include graphs, tables, photographs and DNA sequencing electrophorograms. Each graph, table, figure, etc. should bear a title, a number and legend that contains all information needed to interpret data. In gel electrophoresis, number each lane on the photograph of the gel and the contents of each lane in the legend. Figures and tables should be placed immediately after respective paragraphs of description.
Interpret your data starting with a brief introduction which will give the purpose of the experiment and then your observation. If the data can be interpreted in more than one way (even negative ones) indicate all possibilities and mention the one, you think, to be correct, e.g. unexpected bands on SDS-PAGE and agarose gels. If an experiment did not work, find out what went wrong. Try to correct and mention about it.
Conclude your results in one or two sentences.
xi. Give the reference you used for the experiment.
Basic Requirements in a Laboratory:
Instruments and Appliances:
1. Bunsen burner or spirit lamp
2. Laminar clean air flow-preferably vertical flow.
3. Water bath.
5. Hot plate.
9. Tripod stand with asbestos mat.
11. pH meter.
12. Colony counter.
14. Microscope and photomicrographic camera.
17. Magnetic stirrer.
18. Distilled water plant.
19. Deep freeze.
21. Rotary Shaker.
22. Millipore filtration unit with membranes.
23. Electric heaters.
1. Inoculation platinum loop.
2. Transfer needles.
6. Ocular micrometer.
7. Burette stands.
1. Petri dishes.
2. Conical flasks.
3. Culture tubes.
4. Screw capped bottles for tissue culture.
5. Durham’s tubes.
8. Separating funnels.
9. Measuring cylinders.
10. Graduated and bulb pipettes.
12. Dropping bottles.
13. Reagent bottles.
14. Glass slides.
15. Cavity slides.
16. Cover slips, etc.
1. Non-absorbent and absorbent cotton.
2. Brown paper.
3. Aluminium foil.
4. Test tube stands.
5. Wire gauze baskets.
6. Stains on staining racks.
7. Glass marking pencil.
8. Adhesive tape.
9. Nail polish/ wax to seal slides.
10. Disinfectants, alcohol, Savlon, etc.
11. Containers to keep used glass-wares.
12. Pipette can.
13. Petri dish can.
14. Different media.
17. Filter paper, etc.