The following was written by Microbiology International, Don Whitley Scientific’s supplier of the Anaerobic Workstation in the US
Don Whitley Scientific have turned the maintenance and monitoring of stringent anaerobes in their anaerobic workstations into an art. The unique combination of anaerobic conditions monitoring (ACM) and catalyst monitoring available on the A35, A45, A55, A85 and A95 workstations guarantees that strict anaerobes really will be well within their comfort zone. Microbiology International is the North American distributor for these anaerobic workstations.
The ACM comprises of an oxygen sensor placed inside the workstation and software to process real-time data on oxygen levels in the chamber. Based on knowledge of bacterial oxygen tolerance, results are shown on the touchscreen interface as a colour-coded indicator of O2 concentration. Green, yellow, or red status bars clearly indicate to the user whether oxygen levels are acceptable and provide information on the correct functioning of the workstation. This fully automated system replaces resazurin strips, which can dry out and are subject to interpretation based on the pink-to-white colour change.
The palladium catalyst used to remove traces of oxygen in the Don Whitley Scientific anaerobic workstations is protected through the addition of Anotox, which removes volatile organic compounds and hydrogen sulfide from the chamber atmosphere. Proper functioning of this vital system is monitored by the patented Catalyst Monitoring System, which tests the function of the catalyst overnight, and also confirms that the necessary hydrogen is present.
Together, the anaerobic conditions and catalyst monitoring systems provide unambiguous proof that anaerobiosis is being maintained in the workstations. The art of “zero oxygen” is critically important to cultivating anaerobic microorganisms that, due to their fastidious nature, are often classified as “unculturable“. Taking advantage of the closed workstation format to establish a strictly controlled anaerobic atmosphere, researchers are using Whitley Workstations to examine diverse topics such as the degradation of complex glycans by human gut microbiota; the rise in C. difficile infections through lawn contamination; and the anaerobic etiology of brain abscesses.