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Sources of Microbial Contaminants in Biosafety Laboratories in Kenya
Aims: The study was aimed at isolating and identifying microbial contaminants in biosafety labs in Kenya.
Place and Duration of Study: The bacterial isolates were obtained from biosafety level II laboratories in Kenya (International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) Biotechnology center, Nairobi and Kenyatta University Plant Transformation Laboratory (KUPTL). The research was carried out between January 2016 and August 2016.
Methodology: Bacterial and fungal contaminants were isolated from different areas from the biosafety laboratories to Nutrient Agar (NA) and Potato Dextrose Agar (PDA). Nutrient Agar (NA) was incubated at 37°C for 24 h for bacterial growth and 25°C for 72 h for fungal growth. Four swabs were done on each site. Then the bacteria were restreaked to specific and differential media to allow for growth. Biochemical tests were done for confirmation of the isolates. The isolates were identified using morphological identifications.
Results: Thirteen microbial contaminants (consisting of seven bacteria and six fungi) were isolated. All sites tested contained both bacterial and fungal isolates, and there were no sites which were negative for both bacteria and fungi. The rate of occurrence of bacterial isolates was higher than that of fungal isolates. All sites were positive for more than one bacterium. Statistically, there was a significant difference between the mean fungal and mean bacterial count as the extent of contamination was concerned among the laboratories
Conclusion: The studies revealed that most biosafety laboratories in Kenya are contaminated with a wide variety of potentially pathogenic bacteria and harmful fungus. Bacterial contamination remains a continuing threat in biosafety laboratories, but techniques for reducing contamination are available. Laboratories must assess their situation, determine contamination sources, and change their laboratory operations to avoid or eliminate most of the contaminants.