Biological Materials Storage and Inventory

Effective: August 31, 2007
Reviewed: February 2023
Contact: Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)


Biological materials are any biological or biologically derived material or, any material which, either by accident or design, contains biological agents. Examples include bacteria, viruses, micro-organisms, genetically modified organisms / micro-organisms, toxins of biological origin, seeds, fungi, antibodies, and plasmids.

Federal regulations, along with public concern over security of biohazardous materials, make it necessary for the university to maintain an up-to-date inventory of biological materials. This biological inventory will serve as a confidential, offsite record to help select university personnel (e.g., Department of Public Safety, first responders) determine the risks that are present in research labs on campus in case of an emergency or accident. The inventory will also enable ISU Environmental Health and Safety to ensure university-wide compliance with the following federal regulations and guidelines:

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910, 1030)
  • NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant  and Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines; see Resources below)
  • CDC's Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL)
  • US Patriot Act and the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Response Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-188)
  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 42 CFR Part 73 (the "Select Agent Rule")
  • United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Policy Statement

All laboratories, or any other area, where biological materials are used or stored are required to have a biological inventory on file with Environmental Health and Safety. Biological inventories must include all biological materials used or stored and must be updated at least annually.

As part of storage and inventory requirements, documented training on storage and security must be maintained. Security procedures must address the controlled access to biological inventories (authorized and designated employees only).