Anaerobic laboratory

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Manager : Pr Laurent BENEY

Importance of anaerobic cultures

The intestinal microbiota comprises 100 thousand billion bacterial cells, ten times more than human cells (1). Most of these bacteria can be found in the colon where the environmental conditions are completely anaerobic, and so the majority of bacteria comprising our microbiota are obligate anaerobes (2), which require complex nutritious and gaseous environmental conditions for their growth.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of understanding better these anaerobic bacteria and their impact on the health of the host. Indeed, a low abundance of these bacteria in the intestinal microbiota has already been correlated with the development of chronic intestinal diseases (3,4,5). The PAM research centre has taken up the challenge of developing more sensitive biotechnological tools for the culture, stabilisation, and preservation of these bacteria within the framework of several collaborative projects involving academic and industrial partners.

The importance of anaerobic cultures does not stop with the human microbiota; this issue is frequently encountered during the production of biofuel using bacteria or when studying ecological niches characterised by the absence of oxygen such as the seabed.

An anaerobic laboratory at the cutting edge of biotechnology

The PAM research centre has the human and material resources to study microorganisms with extreme oxygen sensitivity (EOS) and therefore difficult to cultivate and preserve. The centre also addresses issues relating to the impact of modifying the gaseous atmosphere on the properties of microorganisms and their reactions to stress (6).

Promising results within the framework of an FUI – government funded project on the production of an obligate anaerobic EOS bacterium have already been obtained with regard to the large-scale production of biomass and in terms of optimising the viability of bacteria after a long period of preservation.

Oral communication at the Congress on Useful Microbial Flora held on 7 October 2004: The problem case of obligate anaerobic bacteria

List of equipment

Equipment:

  • 1 Sheldon Bactron II anaerobic chamber

  • 1 Freeze dryer (18 litres)

  • 1 Tri-gas oven*

  • 2 fermenters (1 litre)*

  • 3 fermenters (5 litres)*

  • 1 MSC

  • 1 Glove box*

Material:

Liquid cultures:

  • Hungate tubes

  • Schott* systems (up to 500 ml)

Plate cultures:

  • Gas-Pak* jars

  • Oven integrated in the Sheldon Bactron II anaerobic chamber

*Anaerobe Ready