Roll Tubes

One of the most widely used anaerobic cultivation systems is the Hungate roll tube, developed by Hungate (46-48). Sterile tubes were flushed with CO2 while the medium was aseptically added to the tubes to prevent air contamination. The tubes were then inoculated, sealed with rubber stoppers, cooled (48 °C), and hand spun so that the agar with cultures forms a thin film in the inner wall of the test tube. After incubation the colonies could be examined with ease. Isolation of colonies was also feasible with minimum effort by flushing CO2 into the cavity to allow maintenance of reduced condition while performing microbiological operations. A popular version of the roll tube system is the VPI Anaerobic Culture System, developed by Moore (53). This apparatus has a platform so that the tubes can stand upright with cannulas positioned above each tube. The system also allows for streaking cultures into the roll tube anaerobically. The system is continuously flushed by CO2 to exclude O2 from the system.

The advantages of the Hungate roll tube system include (1) good anaerobiosis with minimum investment, (2) unit operation for convenience of small sample numbers; and

(3) ease of observation of colonies and isolation of cultures for further studies. Disadvantages include (1) time requirement for large number of samples; (2) need for manual dexterity; and (3) occasional failure of some tubes to achieve anaerobiosis.

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