GMO Containment in the Field

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Revision as of 23:54, 16 February 2016 by Derishus (Talk | contribs) (Model of Bioreporters in the Field)

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Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are regulated in each country. Therefore, each country must resolve the issue of taking out GMO bioreporters in the field.

Model of Bioreporters in the Field

In Switzerland, we have obtained permission A120851-07 from the Federal Office of the Environment to use specific vials with caps with a self-sealing silicone septum to take the bacteria in the field. The following diagram is our current model of working with bioreporters to analyse water arsenic levels in the field.

Current model in Switzerland

We worked with EPFL Biosafety Office to present our project in Bern to obtain the GMO license to take the bioreporter in the field.

Our process was this:

  • Work with a (federally) certified institution (biosafety level 1) to construct the bioreporter
  • Work with the appropriate federal office to obtain a license to work with the biorerporters in the field
  • In the laboratory, prepare the bioreporters in the approved vials
  • Take the vials out in the field, introduce samples into the vials with the GMO bioreporters
  • Analysis in the field, or back in the community
  • All GMO wastes are properly disposed of (autoclaved) in the licensed institution

The approval was facilitated by the fact that ArsoLux's bioluminescent arsenic bioreporter had been approved by the German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) and the State Ministry of the Environment and Agriculture of Saxony (SMUL). During an inspection by Department 55 (Bio- and Genetic Engineering, Chemicals (SMUL)), the ARSOlux team was able to ensure that the field test follows national standards and regulations. The conducted tests for environmental viability and others by ArsoLux are documented in this pdf from the ArsoLux site.

Our first trip is documented on the Lac de Salanfe and Ottans 2015 wiki page as well as in our blog.


In order to deal with this issue of confinement, we use a vial having a silicon septum, thus allowing us to inject a water sample inside the vial containing the bioreporter while keeping the system confined. Indeed, the hole resorbs after the needle is retracted, thus leaving no room for contact between the environment and the GMO; this diagram illustrates this: