Christina Agapakis at Oscillator says that most synthetic biology labs generate a lot of non-sustainable waste. "In a busy day of experiments working towards making sustainable biological fuels I can generate huge amounts of plastic waste, and it's something I feel hypocritical and terrible for," she writes. Rather than constantly re-ordering disposable sample prep kits for each DNA extraction, researchers should consider cleaning tubes for repeat use up to 10 times, Agapakis suggests. "By simply soaking used columns in dilute (0.1-1M) hydrochloric acid for a while, then washing and rinsing them in distilled water a few times, the columns are clear of DNA that could interfere with future experiments and ready to be reused," she writes, adding that this technique can be applied to other common laboratory consumable, and is "just one really simple way to save money and drastically reduce plastic waste coming out of molecular biology labs."
The Sustainability of Biofuels
Apr 23, 2010