Anaerobic Glove Boxes

To eliminate the chance of exposure of anaerobes to the natural environment during bacteriological manipulation, the anaerobic chamber, or glove box, was developed. The basic principles for achieving anaerobiosis in the glove box and for promoting binding of residual O2 and H2 in the presence of a catalyst (Laidlaw principle) are to remove air first and then flush the chamber with inert gas. Reducing agents in the medium also help to reduce the Eh to a desired low level. Companies marketing anaerobic glove boxes include Format Scientific, Don Whitney Scientific, and Microflow MDH Ltd. The advantages of the glove box include (1) the bacteriological procedure can be operated under anaerobic conditions from the sampling stage to the incubation stage; (2) the area for manipulation is large; and (3) in combination with temperature control, the culture can be incubated in the chamber without further disturbance of the cultural environment. The disadvantages are (1) high initial cost; (2) high operating expenses (gas and electricity); (3) high maintenance cost; (4) requirement for operator training; (5) oxygen contamination through leakage, operator error, or mechanical malfunction; (6) occasional high labor requirements; and (7) moisture buildup in the box.

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