BSL-3 Frequently Asked Questions

What does biocontainment mean?

Biocontainment is a combination of facility design features and operating procedures to ensure that biohazards within a laboratory are not released into the environment.

How do we know if an agent is a BSL-3 pathogen? 

Biosafety levels are determined by the risk group classification for the organism and procedures used during experimentation. The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) makes the final determination for biosafety level for each project. 

The following resources may be used for determining biosafety levels:

How do we develop SOPs for our project?

The BSL-3 Program provides SOP templates and individual facilities provide SOPs for many of tasks within the facility such as autoclaving waste, working in biosafety cabinets, and centrifugation.

Contact the BSL-3 Assistant Director, (612) 624-5479 for assistance with SOP development.

What special permits are necessary for my project?

All BSL-3 work must be reviewed by the BSL-3 Advisory Committee and approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).

All work including animals must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

Storage and handling of all agents designated by the federal government as being potential agents for bioterrorism require registration with the federal Select Agent Program.

Many plant and animal pathogens require a permit from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Contact the BSL-3 Assistant Director, (612) 624-5479, for assistance with project approvals.