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The Effectiveness of HEPA filters on DNA


Most laboratory techniques utilize biosafety cabinets (BSCs) in order to provide contamination control of the experiments. BSCs depend on airflow and HEPA filters to remove contaminants from the environment. Aerosols may be created constantly by common lab practices, such as centrifugation, pipetting, and opening tubes. HEPA filters are very effective at removing various sized contaminants, but do not prevent gasses and vapors from penetrating through them.

At some particular size of particle, HEPA filters will not be effective in their removal. Researchers have speculated that DNA may not be captured by HEPA filters, allowing for contamination of subsequent experiments by aerosolized DNA. Here we determined that DNA is captured by a HEPA filter at the same efficiency as the filter is rated and discovered DNA cannot be dislodged from a HEPA filter.

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