The Biotron is designed to provide biological isolation at the BL 2 level. Controlled environment growth chambers and greenhouse units on the second floor share many of the necessary design parameters. Each unit has a dedicated air handling unit which circulates and controls the temperature and humidity of the air. Air circulation is at about 2500 cfm with 5% to 10% fresh air, and filters remove particulates in both the fresh and recirculated air. Biotron rooms can be run at either a positive or negative pressure while the greenhouses are at positive pressure only but can be supplied with door gaskets and floor sweeps as necessary. Construction materials are all non-porous, glass, aluminum, and fiberglass with trowelled epoxy over the concrete floors in the greenhouse. All joints are caulked, including those in the air ducts.
A double door system is in use, with all doors provided with locks for use as required by the nature of the current research. Egress from an experimental room leads to a work area or corridor. It is necessary to pass through another door to enter a general access hallway. The building itself is locked, with entrance controlled by a keypad security system which logs all transactions.
Disposal of restricted wastes is facilitated by three autoclaves and a walk in freezer for storage of wastes which require incineration.
A record of successful handling of experiments which require biological isolation has been established over the past thirty years. The resources of various U. W. Safety Departments are employed in assisting with procedures for managing hazardous materials. Past experiments have included work with exotic Newcastle virus, listeria and e-coli in food, radioactive tracers, and PCB and dioxin as environmental pollutants. Current work includes SIV in primates, late blight of potato, vectors for a tropical blood fluke, and a large transgenic mouse colony maintained specific pathogen free.