Miller Assay

The protocol for this technique can be found here and MSDS for reagents used can be found here.


Bacteria- Depending on the bacteria used in your experiments, the danger associated with exposure will vary. Our laboratory is only authorised to use Biosafety level 1 (non-pathogenic) bacteria and so in our experiments the risk to scientists is minimal. It is however the policy of the department to treat all bacteria as pathogens. This will be increasingly important if pathogenic strains of bacteria are used.

Infection - the risk of infection in our experiment was not of great concern as non-pathogenic strains were used. Gloves and lab coats were still always worn when working with bacteria (this was also to help prevent contamination of samples). Where there is a greater risk masks should also be work to prevent access via the mouth or airways. Despite wearing gloves while working with bacteria, scientists must still wash their hands before leaving the lab to eliminate the chance of contaminating food.
Disposal - Unused bacteria and any material that has come into contact with the bacteria (including gloves)should be disposed of in the biological waste vessels in the laboratory. When full, these materials are then autoclaved and disposed of in accordance with normal departmental procedures.

Chloroform - The MSDS can be found here.

2-Mercaptoethanol - The MSDS can be found here.

Other Hazardous Chemicals - There is potential for use of hazardous chemicals in this protocol depending on experimental design (e.g. fluoride). These will need to be considered on an individual basis and appropriate risk assessments produced but in all cases it is worth noting that additional PPE may have to be worn and that normal waste disposal procedures may not be appropriate.

If in doubt, consult the departmental poster on our safety homepage for guidelines.