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Archive for March, 2017

sma spring meeting

Scottish Microbiology Association Spring Meeting

Don Whitley Scientific recently headed up north into the Cairngorms National Park to attend the Scottish Microbiology Association Spring Meeting at the Macdonald Resort in Aviemore. 

The meeting featured talks and presentations from various different people working in microbiology in Scotland, with topics ranging from antimicrobial resistance to invasive infections. The event gave Don Whitley Scientific a chance to interact and network with key figures in Scottish microbiology and discuss how the DWS product range may benefit their working methods.

Don Whitley Scientific had an A35 Anaerobic Workstation on their stand, equipped with many unique options and features. Many microbiology labs in Scotland are well aware of Whitley Workstations, already using them in their labs, however the meeting was a good opportunity to introduce the product to those who were looking for a more efficient and easy way to cultivate anaerobes.

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Cairngorms National Park

Find out more about the Don Whitley Scientific range of Anaerobic Workstations

Discover how the Whitley A95 Anaerobic Workstation is optimising conditions for Clostridium difficile

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Cultivating the “Unculturables”

The oral bacteriome comprises about 700 species, most of them anaerobic and participating in symbiotic relationships with their human host and each other which are essential for overall health, not just of the mouth but also of the heart, the brain, and other organ systems. Up to one third of these bacteria have been characterised solely by culture-independent molecular methods such as 16S rRNA cloning, but have yet to be cultivated in vitro. These bacteria are so difficult to culture outside of their biofilm habitat because they rely on metabolic cooperation and intercellular signalling with the community.

Sonia Vartoukian and William Wade of Queen Mary University of London, using their Don Whitley Scientific Anaerobic Workstations, have been shining a bright light into the dark niches of the oral cavity for years. They have identified a novel species in a new genus, Fretibacterium fastidiosum, through co-culture with other oral bacteria cultured in the anaerobic workstation. More recently, they were able to isolate five novel strains from subgingival plaque, using a combination of community culture with helper strains and supplementation with siderophores as growth supplements. The bacteria are surprisingly agile in adapting to changes in their co-dependent habitat, as long as they are provided with the signals and factors they themselves have lost the ability to synthesize. Over the course of up to 21 day culture of the samples, Vartoukian and Wade were fastidious about not exposing the cultures to air, using plates that were pre-reduced in the workstation’s anaerobic atmosphere and making sure to minimise time spent outside of the workstation. The Whitley Anaerobic Workstation makes it easy to work with sensitive cultures. The 10mm thick annealed acrylic, patented use of Anotox, rapid transfer airlock, and easy-to-use sleeve gassing system ensure a robust and strictly anaerobic atmosphere.

 

Image from the website of Yihong Li of the Department of Dentistry, NYU

Image from the website of Yihong Li of the Department of Dentistry, NYU

 

On the other side of the Atlantic, Microbiology International distributes the Don Whitley Scientific anaerobic workstation to North American groups researching the oral bacteriome in physiology and disease. Dr. Yihong Li at New York University Department of Dentistry uses his A35 workstation “to facilitate cutting-edge research in clinical microbiology, antimicrobial treatment evaluation, and infectious disease identification.” The A35 can accommodate up to 600 90 mm plates and features bare-handed access to a consistent and strictly anaerobic environment, reliably monitored by the Anaerobic Conditions Monitoring System. Dr. Li’s research on dental caries has shown that the anaerobic environment is essential for colonization by oral lactobacilli. His group’s large-scale studies of the diversity of lactobacilli associated with severe early childhood caries have demonstrated the necessity to provide a range of anaerobic and microaerophilic niche environments in order to capture the complexity of Lactobacillus variables.

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Dr. Li’s group will be presenting new research on oral biofilms at the AADR conference.

Visit Microbiology International at  the AADR/IADR meeting in San Francisco on 22-25 March to experience anaerobic workstations for yourself! 

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Taking on the C difficile challenge

In the United States, nearly half a million infections are caused by Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) annually, with approximately 17% experiencing at least one recurrence; almost 6% of patients die within 30 days of diagnosis.

The standard first-line treatment for C. difficile infection (CDI) relies on the antibiotic metronidazole; however, metronidazole is not as effective for severe cases of CDI, due to its rapid absorption in the upper GI tract. At Texas A&M, Julian Hurdle’s group are using Whitley Anaerobic Workstations to improve treatment outcome by developing modified derivatives of metronidazole.

Julian Hurdle and Philip Cherian describe their research in their 2015 paper “Gastrointestinal localization of metronidazole by a lactobacilli-inspired tetramic acid motif improves treatment outcomes in the hamster model of Clostridium difficile infection“. In essence, the group synthesized a series of metronidazole derivatives with a tetramic acid motif utilized by Lactobacillus strains, assaying their efficacy in C. difficile cultures growing in a Whitley A35 Workstation. In animal experiments, the modified compounds were found to exhibit significantly better efficacy in treating CDI, due to minimal absorption as compared to the unmodified drug. The A35 Anaerobic Workstation enables comfortable gloveless access to the chamber, where cultures are manipulated and incubated under consistent anaerobic conditions. Features such as HEPA containment and anaerobic conditions monitoring system guarantee that the atmosphere inside the workstation is absolutely anaerobic and particulate free. Drs Hurdle and Cherian have recently applied for a patent for compounds and methods based on their C. difficile research.

All over the world, labs are using Whitley Workstations to research C. difficile. In the UK, C. difficile is still a challenge with 17,925 cases reported in 2015. Leeds General Infirmary now has five Whitley Workstations. Dr Jane Freeman at Leeds uses an A95 Anaerobic Workstation, our largest workstation, which can accommodate two technicians simultaneously and has a capacity of up to 1400 plates. The team at Leeds appreciate the reliable anaerobic atmosphere, the spacious working area, and the ability to keep instrumentation inside the workstation. Watch this YouTube video highlighting  Dr Freeman’s work with C. difficile.

 


By Dr Burga Kalz Fuller

Microbiology International is the exclusive distributor for Whitley Anaerobic Workstations in North America.

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Workstation Installation at Trinity College Dublin

Don Whitley Scientific and our distributor in Ireland, Davidson and Hardy, recently installed equipment at Trinity College Dublin to help with research into cell metabolism.

Stephen Maher, Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin first experienced using a Whitley Workstation when working with a group at The University of Hull.  In his Trinity College Dublin lab, Don Whitley Scientific recently installed a Whitley H35 Hypoxystation, to be used connected to a Whitley i2 Instrument Workstation. The combination of these two units should help Stephen Maher greatly in his research.

The Whitley H35 Hypoxystation is ideal for cell and tissue culture researchers who want to accurately control oxygen, carbon dioxide, temperature and humidity. A removable front allows large quantities of samples or pieces of equipment to be placed inside the unit for use within these specific, physiologically relevant conditions. The i2 Workstation was developed in response to a rising number of enquiries from scientists wanting to use Seahorse Extracellular Flux (XF) Analyzers in hypoxic conditions and were dissatisfied with the solutions available. This workstation can be used as a stand-alone unit or connected to a Whitley Hypoxystation via the new Whitley Transfer Tunnel, enabling preparation of cell lines under hypoxic conditions and their transfer directly into the i2 without exposure to air.

 

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Explore the Whitley Hypoxystation Range