Anaerobic Jars

Anaerobic jars that use both H2 and CO2 were developed by Brewer and Allgeier (33). The chemical generator consisted of a sodium borohydride tablet and a citric acid-sodium bicarbonate tablet in a convenient package. These two tablets, when activated by the addition of water to the package, produce H2 and CO2 gas, respectively. The system required no vacuum or electric current because the H2 + O2 reaction was catalyzed by a cold catalyst (alumina pellets coated with 0.5% palladium). CO2 is used in the system for the promotion of growth of some anaerobic bacteria. Some companies are marketing these anaerobic jars (e.g., BBL, B.T.L., and UNIPATH/OXOID). The advantages of the anaerobic jar include (1) ease of operation, especially for the small laboratory; (2) economy of space; (3) convenience of prepackaged materials for the generation of gases;

and (4 safety of the units. The disadvantages include (1) the culture plates are inoculated under aerobic conditions;

(2) the jar remains aerobic for 15 to 20 minutes even while the Gas Paks are activated, which may affect some strict anaerobes; and (3) occasionally the jar fails to achieve an-aerobiosis.

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