Anaerobic bacteria are common causes of infection and will be completely missed in clinical diagnosis unless special precautions are taken for their isolation and culture. With anaerobic culture, microbiologists are not only challenged with obtaining a good specimen, but also with ensuring that the specimen does not come in contact with air3.
Anaerobic and micro-aerophilic bacteria can also be beneficial to humans. These bacteria are used as “waste digesters” by industry to clean oil spills, methane gas production in waste management, and can actually be a culprit in the spoilage of beer.
The cultivation of microorganisms in these oxygen-depleted atmospheres can take place in a CO2 incubator or an anaerobic glove cabinet. These conventional methods are marred by many disadvantages, like late discovery of leaks, slow anaerobiasis, or chemical waste. Massive space-occupying chambers with fixed environments consume huge quantities of gas and servicing is costly and inconvenient. Additionally, they are often incapable of cultivating micro-aerophilic and anaerobic organisms at the same time.
Alternatively for anaerobic incubation, agar plates can be placed in a sealed jar made anaerobic by evacuating and replacing the atmosphere with an oxygen-free gas mixture. The Advanced Instruments Anoxomat™ is a microprocessor controlled evacuation-replacement system for removing oxygenated environments from jars. The Anoxomat will replace the oxygenated environment with an anaerobic, micro-aerophilic, or a programmed gas mixture.
PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION
Anoxomat uses the widely known McIntosh and Fildes system of evacuation and replacement to create anerobic environments. During the anaerobic evacuation cycle, oxygen within the jar is replaced with hydrogen. After the anaerobic cycle, a mere 0.16% residual oxygen content is left in the jar, which is then removed by a Palladium catalyst. The anaerobic recipe leaves the jar with a strict zero oxygen level and 10% carbon dioxide mix.
This method is the most efficient way to create precise, reproducible conditions because it rapidly removes the oxygenated environment from a jar and replaces it with precise amounts of anaerobic, or microaerophilic or capnophilic gas mixtures.
Anoxomat can connect up to five combinations of jars to gas, and its custom programming feature allows the user to customize gas mixture settings. These custom recipes can be stored in Anoxomat’s memory.
Anoxomat Mark II can also culture microaerophilic, hypoxic, and capnophilic bacteria. The microaerophilic recipe creates an environment with 6% oxygen and about 7% Carbon dioxide, the ideal mixture for the cultivation of Campylobacter.
After 3-5 minutes the Anoxomat will indicate that the jar has been successfully processed and the designated environment has been created. The jar can then be uncoupled. The snap-shut coupling on the lid closes upon disconnection. The jar is ready for incubation and the Anoxomat is ready for the next job.
Because the Anoxomat is faster under many conditions than the Anaerobic chambers and gas packs, the system achieves the required conditions for incubation in less time, and the recovery of micro-organisms cultivated in its jars surpasses all other methods, because the Anoxomat Anaerobic Jars are guaranteed to maintain the same precise environment throughout incubation.