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testing for microbes

Posted: 20 Nov 2023, 11:15
by RosalieL
OK so I know this has been discussed before but do you think I can find it??? (Is it really only Monday?)

What are the current rules around kids swabbing surfaces to grow whatever microbes they manage to find? I know not to swab humans (or cough/sneeze onto plates), to use the parafilm to seal plates, not to incubate over 30deg and not to open plates after being sealed but are there rules about where within the school they are allowed to swab?

Located NSW, independent school.


Re: testing for microbes

Posted: 20 Nov 2023, 12:04
by melsid
Have you looked up the Science ASSIST site? Below is a snippet from their AIS Microbiology Guidelines:

"7.2 Environmental sampling
When sampling from the environment, the microorganisms collected are not identified. It is
therefore important to sample from environments that are not likely to contain human
Suitable environments to obtain samples
• Laboratory bench
• Other fixtures within the laboratory e.g. window sills
• Coins from your pocket
• Pens or pencils
• Door handles
• Computer keyboards
Unsuitable environments to obtain samples
Areas where it is not recommended that samples be obtained as they may contain human
• Toilets and toilet areas including floors, hand basins and taps
• Food preparation areas
• Any human or animal body fluids or carcasses
• Skin areas including the finger tips and the mouth
• Animal sources
• Soil samples"

Hope this helps!

Re: testing for microbes

Posted: 20 Nov 2023, 12:07
by Anna Z
I'd be going with what @melsid said... perfect

Re: testing for microbes

Posted: 20 Nov 2023, 14:11
by RosalieL
Thank you! I had checked the Science ASSIST page but missed that bit. I must have looked at a different document (or tuned out as I was scrolling :coffee: :boring: oops!). I have one teacher who I am sure will want to do toilet doors/taps and who knows, maybe even the toilet itself so I want to have it to him in writing long before he attempts it or I will be sterilising and not incubating his students' plates!

Re: testing for microbes

Posted: 21 Nov 2023, 06:41
by Merilyn1
Fair call, Rosalie.
There was a lot of discussion quite a few years ago about students not being allowed to swab anything and having to grow peppercorn broth or something weird. It was a misinterpretation of CSIS which advised against sub-culturing anything growing on agar plates.

However, I think Science Assist (as always) have nailed it with some very good, sensible, clear guidelines.