Wednesday 1 May 2013

Biosafety levels and safety cabinets

Contamination is a major issue associated with all experimental procedures. Contaminating microorganisms can be detrimental to important experimental data, furthermore, as the air is circulated, there is always the possibility of the user inhaling contaminants carried in it. It is also essential to prevent contamination of the air exhausted out of the building which can have potentially harmful effects on the environment. For this, microbiological safety cabinets are used.

Class I. These cabinets provide personnel and environment protection, but no product protection. As a result, these cabinets are becoming less common in modern laboratories.
Class II. This cabinet range provides protection for both the user and the sample. These cabinets are able to safely handle research applications involving the use of sterile animal tissue and cell culture systems, for example.
Class III. These cabinets have been designed for work with microbiological agents assigned to biosafety level 4 (Class I and Class II are assigned to levels 1-3), providing maximum protection to the environment as well as to the user.

To understand the different safety levels and to read about how these cabinets actually work, go over to Controlled Environments where David Phillips has written a good article explaining these key issues.

See: Safety cabinets

Posted by Tim Sandle

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