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Use and Care of Microorganisms

  1. This area of science, may involve many dangers and hazards while experimenting. It is the sole responsibility of all teacher(s)/sponsor(s) to teach students proper safety methods and sterile techniques.
  2. The Illinois Junior Academy of Science prohibits the use of primary or secondary cultures taken from humans or other warm-blooded animals in any project because of the danger from unknown viruses or other disease-causing agents that may be present. Pure cultures of microorganisms known to inhabit warm-blooded animals may be obtained from reputable suppliers and used in proper settings.
  3. Microorganism experimentation MUST be conducted in a laboratory setting.
    • A primary culture is one taken from a vertebrate animal, living or dead. For example, a culture may therefore NOT be taken from a mouth, throat, skin, hamburger, meat, chicken, or fish.
    • A secondary culture is a culture taken from an object that has come in contact with a vertebrate animal. For example, a culture may NOT be taken from eating utensils, door knobs, toilets, countertops, milk, eggs, etc.
  4. Projects involving viruses and recombinant DNA projects should be done with the help of a professional and should comply with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidelines unless the project is limited to a kit obtained from a legitimate supply house.
  5. All cultures should be destroyed by methods such as, autoclaving or with a suitable NaOCl (bleach) solution before disposal.
  6. Students who have a project involving microorganisms must complete, with their sponsor, the Microorganisms Endorsement form. (See Appendix page 49) that is included in this policy manual. Feel free to duplicate as needed.
  7. Any projects involving growth of mold or rotting of organic material must be done in science classroom or professional research facility.
  8. For information on “Micro-Organisms for Education”, visit