General guidelines for a microbiological laboratory of optimal capacity


The suggested space for a microbiological testing laboratory of optimal capacity 130 sq. m. is discussed here. A separate room in the vicinity, allowing public access needs to be identified for sample receipt and storage. It may be adjacent to the microbiology testing laboratory or away depending on the general layout plan of the institution and areas of public access. The sample receipt room may serve as a common facility to other testing laboratories (chemical etc). The spaces suggested for testing activities are as follows.

Food testing laboratory 40 sq. m.
Reference culture room 10 sq. m.
Changing/entry room 10 sq. m.
Media preparation room 10 sq. m.
Washing/decontamination room 10 sq. m.
Office /td> 10 sq. m.
Head 14 sq. m.
Interior passages 16 sq. m.
TOTAL 120 sq. m. (approx)
Sample receipt room 10 sq. m.
GRAND TOTAL 130 sq. m.

Arrangements of the different areas to carryout functions preventing contamination are identified in the layout plan (Fig. 5). The plan identifies locations for the main testing laboratory, media preparation room, glassware washing and decontamination room, culture maintenance room, head's room, staff room/ office and other facilities. The required specifications in designing of the laboratory complex are given below in relation to Fig 5-8.

    Set up partitions as in Fig 5, using aluminium and glass panelling. Put aluminium or cement brick up to 1.2 meters from the floor and then glass up to the ceiling. At ceiling level all the panels should fit tightly and be sealed with appropriate material to prevent air leaks that may lead to contaminations.

    All doors to be of aluminium /glass, opening outward. The door marked A should have a width of 150 cm and the doors marked B a width of 130 cm to allow large equipment to be carried in. Other doors could be of standard size.

    Fix the central workbench in the main laboratory as indicated in the layout diagram. (Fig. 5). There should be cupboards and drawers under the benches.

    Construct workbenches along the wall in the glassware washing room, culture maintenance room, media preparation rooms and in the main laboratory. These should be 90 cm (height) x 90 cm (width) and suit the length to the walls as in Fig. 5. They may be of concrete or wood with push-in cupboards and drawers underneath.

    All bench and table tops in the testing laboratory, culture maintenance room, media preparation room and washing room need to be laid with granite, formica or a similar non-porous material.

    The testing laboratory, the media preparation room and the culture maintenance room need to be air-conditioned to maintain a continuous temperature of 25 oC and RH (55 + 5)%.

    In locations where an uninterrupted power supply is not available day and night, a backup generator with automatic switch gear needs to be used.

    The floor of the testing laboratory, the media preparation room and culture maintenance room should be done with epoxy resin. In all other areas, use smooth floor tiles, preferably white and of dimension 30cm x 30 cm.

    The locations for electricity outlets for 15 amps and 3-phase supply are indicated in Fig 6. Provide adequate lighting, using fluorescent or low energy bulbs to provide light intensity of 750 lux. The lights should be fixed at ceiling level and not hanging (to avoid collection and release of dust).

    Locations of sinks are given in Fig 5. Stainless steel sinks are preferred. In the washing room a sink with a draining board will be more useful. It is preferable to fix two-way or three-way laboratory type taps for the sinks.

    The water delivered to the laboratories should be at a minimum pressure of 2.0 bar (Where the pressure of the public supply is low and not continuous, install an overhead tank at 11metre height (equivalent of approximately the 4th floor of a building).

    The gas lines should carry two-way or four-way taps. The supply tank should be located outside the laboratory with suitable safety valves and protection from mishandling.

    All water exhaust down pipes from the sinks should be of 50 mm diameter leading down to 100 mm diameter horizontal pipes with no bends, and opening directly out of the laboratory so that they can be cleaned from outside.

    All surfaces in the testing laboratory, culture room and media preparation room where dust could accumulate (window panes and sharp corners in the floor) need to be made at an angle and curved.

    No pipelines and conduits should be laid on the surface of the floor or along the surface of walls in the laboratories as they permit dust and dirt to accumulate and are impossible to clean. They should be embedded.

    Storage cupboards for glassware and chemicals should be put up at appropriate places above 1.6 meters on the walls in the testing laboratory, washing room, sampling room and media preparation room (height 100 cm x depth 45 cm).

    Tint the glass windows in the outer walls to prevent direct sunlight entering the laboratory

    There should be no ceiling fans in the testing laboratories and the ceilings should be smooth.

    Extraction fans may be fixed in washing and media preparation room, but kept closed except during operation.

    Enamel paints are preferable on the walls since they can be washed.

    The proposed layout of equipment is given in Fig. 7.

FIG 5- LAYOUT PLAN FOR A MICROBIOLOGICAL LABORATORY OF CAPACITY 130 sq. m.

FIG 6 - SERVICE REQUIREMENTS FOR A MICROBIOLOGICAL LABORATORY OF CAPACITY 130 sq. m.
FIG 7- LAYOUT OF EQUIPMENT IN A MICROBIOLOGICAL LABORATORY OF CAPACITY 130 sq. m.
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