The Biosafe Ltd. laboratory operates from our headquarters in Kuopio, in the lake district of Finland. The laboratory receives a number of parcels containing samples from different customers every week. The samples are handled by our laboratory technicians, two of whom we interviewed about their work.
Mari Heikkinen (on the left in the picture), who has a long and rich experience with various sample materials and microbial strains, is also responsible for procurement of laboratory materials and reagents. How does she feel about working at Biosafe laboratory?
“The best thing about my work is that no day is the same. We have so many tests and analyses that it never gets boring. Our work is versatile and definitely not conveyor belt work. It is rewarding to see the results of your own work,” says Heikkinen.
“I agree,” adds Galina Vatanen (on the right in the picture), who has just finished preparing plates for testing antimicrobial production of a microbial strain. “You have to be focused on the work at hand, you need to be able to organize and take initiative. It requires precision and meticulousness for a project to run smoothly and without errors.”
“It helps that we have clear SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for each test,” says Mari. However, if a sample material behaves abnormally, the project managers approach us and we figure out together what the reason might be. It is really motivating that our observations are taken into account and we can actually help solve problems for the customer. We know how important it is for the customer to get the authorization, sometimes on a very short notice.”
The laboratory technicians, however, do not directly know the customer. The samples are coded, and the customer name is not visible when we analyse the samples. “The only time we might see the customer’s name on the package is when the samples arrive at the laboratory,” says Galina. This way, we ensure that all customers and samples are treated equally.
Both technicians agree that data systems could be developed further to avoid excess recording. This is indeed one of the things on Biosafe’s development agenda, and streamlining processes is a continuous effort. The laboratory has undergone major changes and expansion during the last year. We are always excited to get new equipment into use and look forward to new developments, Mari and Galina conclude.
Biosafe is specialized in testing microbial strains and products derived from microbial fermentation used in the food chain or as biotherapeutics.