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Colorado Science & Engineering Fair

April 11 - 13, 2019 at Colorado State University - Fort Collins
2019 CSEF Tentative Schedule

Projects incorporating microorganisms (including bacteria, viruses, viroids, prions, rickettsia, fungi and parasites), recombinant DNA (rDNA) technologies or human/animal fresh tissues, blood or bodily fluids may involve working with potentially hazardous biological agents and must complete a Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Form (6A).

When dealing with potentially hazardous biological agents, it is the responsibility of the student and ALL of the adults involved in a research project to conduct a risk assessment. A risk assessment defines the potential level of harm, injury or disease to plants, animals or humans that may occur when working with biological agents.

Experimentation with potentially hazardous biological agents is prohibited in a home environment. This means absolutely NO CULTURING may be done at home, but collection of samples may be done there.

For additional help in completing Form 6A, watch the Form 6A Help Video.

Studies involving unknown microorganisms present a challenge because the presence, concentration and pathogenicity of possible agents are unknown. Usually, these studies involve the collection and culturing of microorganisms from the environment (i.e.: soil, household surfaces, skin, etc.).

Research with unknown microorganisms can be treated as a BSL-1 study under the following conditions:

  • The organism is cultured in a plastic petri dish (or other standard, sterile, non-breakable container) and SEALED.
  • The experiment involves only procedures in which the petri dish REMAINS SEALED throughout the experiment.
  • The SEALED petri dish is disposed of via autoclaving or disinfection under the supervision of the Designated Supervisor.

If a culture container with unknown microorganisms is OPENED FOR ANY PURPOSE (except for disposal by the Designated Supervisor), it MUST be treated as a BSL-2 agent and conducted at a BSL-2 equipped lab.

The following are simple samples of projects with varying levels of biosafety requirements.

  • Sample Form 6A for a project where the Qualified Scientist has determined the risk level of the study is a BSL-1.

  • Sample Form 6A for a project where the Qualified Scientist has determined the risk level of the study is a BSL-2

  • Sample Form 6A for a project that was done at a regulated research institution.

IMPORTANT: Please note that not all rules and guidelines are listed on this web site, please review more about ISEF rules regarding Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents and Tissue research to make sure you are in compliance and can compete in the CSEF competition.

BSL-4 risk group contains biological agents that usually produce very serious diseases that are often untreatable. Projects in the BSL-4 group are PROHIBITED.

BSL-3 risk group contains biological agents that usually cause serious disease or that can result in serious economic consequences. Projects in the BSL-3 group are PROHIBITED.

BSL-2 risk group contains biological agents that pose moderate risk to personnel and the environment. If exposure occurs in a lab situation, the risk of spread is limited and it rarely would cause infection that would lead to serious disease. These agents require a BioSafety Level 2 containment. Examples of BSL-2 organisms include: Mycobacterium, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Salmonella cholerasuis.

BSL-1 risk group contains biological agents that pose a low risk to personnel and the environment. These agents are highly unlikely to cause disease in healthy lab workers, animals or plants. These agents require a BioSafety Level 1 containment. Examples of BSL-1 organisms include: Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Micrococcus leuteus, Neurospora crassa, Bacillus subtilis.

The following types of studies are not considered Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents and do not require prior SRC review, but do require a Risk Assessment Form (3):

  • Studies involving protists and archaea.

  • Research using manure for composting, fuel production, or other non-culturing experiments.

  • Commercially-available color change coliform water test kits. These kits must remain sealed and must be properly disposed.

  • Studies involving decomposition of vertebrate organisms (such as in forensic projects).

  • Studies with microbial fuel cells.

The following types of studies are exempt from prior SRC review, are not considered Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents and do not require additional forms:

  • Studies involving baker's yeast and brewer's yeast, except in rDNA studies.

  • Studies involving Lactobacillus, Bacillus thuringiensis, nitrogen-fixing bacteria, oil-eating bacteria and algae-eating bacteria introduced into their natural environment (not exempt if cultured in a petri dish).

  • Studies involving water or soil microbes not concentrated in media conducive to their microbial growth.

  • Studies of mold growth on food items if the experiment is terminated at the first evidence of mold.

  • Studies of slime molds and edible mushrooms.

  • Studies involving E. coli K-12 (and other strains of E. coli used solely a s food source for C. elegans) that are performed at school and are not subject to additional rules for rDNA studies or use of antibiotic resistant organisms.

Studies involving fresh/frozen tissue, blood or body fluids obtained from humans and/or vertebrate animals must complete a Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Form (6A) AND a Human and Vertebrate Animal Tissue Form (6B).

 

For additional help in completing Form 6B, watch the Form 6B Help Video.

The following types of tissue do not need to be treated as potentially hazardous biological agents and therefore, do not need Form 6A or Form 6B, but should clearly identified in the research plan.

  • Plant tissue (except those known to be toxic or hazardous);

  • Plant and non-primate ESTABLISHED cell lines and tissue culture collections (i.e.: obtained from the American Type Culture Collection); the source and/or catalog number of the cultures MUST be identified in the research plan.

  • Fresh or frozen meat, meat by-products obtained from food stores, restaurants, or packing houses and pasteurized milk or eggs.

  • Hair, hooves, nails and feathers.

  • Teeth that have been sterilized by a dentist to kill any blood-borne pathogens that may be present.

  • Fossilized tissue or archaeological specimens.

  • Prepared, fixed tissue samples.

The following is a simple sample of a project that involves the use of human and/or vertebrate animal tissue.

  • Sample Form 6B were the blood sample is obtained from another study being done at a regulated research institution.

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Last modified 8/13/18