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Archive for August, 2017

Rest Assured That Your Anaerobic Workstation is at Zero Oxygen

The following was written by Microbiology International, Don Whitley Scientific’s supplier of the Anaerobic Workstation in the US

Don Whitley Scientific have turned the maintenance and monitoring of stringent anaerobes in their anaerobic workstations into an art. The unique combination of anaerobic conditions monitoring (ACM) and catalyst monitoring available on the  A35, A45, A55, A85 and A95 workstations guarantees that strict anaerobes really will be well within their comfort zone. Microbiology International is the North American distributor for these anaerobic workstations.

The ACM comprises of an oxygen sensor placed inside the workstation and software to process real-time data on oxygen levels in the chamber. Based on knowledge of bacterial oxygen tolerance, results are shown on the touchscreen interface as a colour-coded indicator of O2 concentration. Green, yellow, or red status bars clearly indicate to the user whether oxygen levels are acceptable and provide information on the correct functioning of the workstation. This fully automated system replaces resazurin strips, which can dry out and are subject to interpretation based on the pink-to-white colour change.

The palladium catalyst used to remove traces of oxygen in the Don Whitley Scientific anaerobic workstations is protected through the addition of Anotox, which removes volatile organic compounds and hydrogen sulfide from the chamber atmosphere. Proper functioning of this vital system is monitored by the patented Catalyst Monitoring System, which tests the function of the catalyst overnight, and also confirms that the necessary hydrogen is present.

Together, the anaerobic conditions and catalyst monitoring systems provide unambiguous proof that anaerobiosis is being maintained in the workstations. The art of “zero oxygen” is critically important to cultivating anaerobic microorganisms that, due to their fastidious nature, are often classified as “unculturable“. Taking advantage of the closed workstation format to establish a strictly controlled anaerobic atmosphere, researchers are using Whitley Workstations to examine diverse topics such as the degradation of complex glycans by human gut microbiota;  the rise in C. difficile infections through lawn contamination; and the anaerobic etiology of brain abscesses.

The A35 Anaerobic Workstation will be on the Don Whitley Scientific stand at this years IBMS Congress in Birmingham



wasp_lab_to be at Microbe 2018

Products to be shown on DWS stand at IBMS 2017

It has today been announced that the Don Whitley Scientific stand at this year’s IBMS Congress and Exhibition (No 407) will feature the following:

NEW: WASPFlo for WASPLab™, the fully automated, barcode-driven, conveyor-connected system with remote plate image analysis and automatic incubation. WASPFlo is an automatic bulk sample sorter that will introduce dramatic efficiencies and revolutionise workflow. Also ask for information on the new PhenoMATRIX™, a sophisticated suite of algorithms that uses AI to automatically count and recognise organisms, giving microbiology labs the ability to read, interpret and segregate bacterial cultures with the click of a button.

Whitley A35 Workstation, the industry leading anaerobic cabinet that provides excellent conditions for the processing, incubation and examination of samples without exposure to atmospheric oxygen. This workstation provides the ability to manipulate samples in a sustainable environment where parameters can be altered to create the required conditions. Come along and learn about all the options and accessories that can tailor this, and other workstations in the range, to your specific applicational requirements.

Have you experienced ChromaZona yet? This automated microbial identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) analysis system provides faster results in busy clinical laboratories. Use ChromaZona to generate objective, repeatable, traceable data in double-quick time and to EUCAST standards. The sensitive CCD camera, unique lighting system and powerful Chromogenic ID software provide identification of microbial species in seconds. The system automatically reads different plate types up to 150mm diameter and generates true-to-life, full colour images. ChromaZona can be connected to your LIMS to store data and generate reports in Excel…  say goodbye to transcription errors!


Visit Stand 407 or call to book your personal demonstration – 01274 595728.

Clinical microbiology at the IBMS

Announcement of DWS attendance at IBMS

Don Whitley Scientific will be exhibiting at the 2017 IBMS Congress in Birmingham in September. We’ll be on stand number 407, Hall 3.

The event is being held from 25 to 27 September 2017 at the International Convention Centre. This is an invitation to our customers, potential customers, distributors and suppliers to visit us over this 3-day conference and exhibition.

Come along and see why WASPLab has developed into a market leading, fully automated, barcode-driven, conveyor-connected system with remote plate image analysis and automatic incubation. New WASPFlow is an automatic bulk sample sorter that will introduce dramatic efficiencies and revolutionise workflow.

On show will be the latest innovations in anaerobic workstation technology. Our patented Instant Access Ports are now widely accepted as the industry standard, as is the Catalyst Monitoring System that provides an early indication of the deterioration of anaerobic conditions.

ChromaZona Screen You will also be able to experience ChromaZona, an automated microbial identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) analysis system that provides faster results in busy clinical laboratories.

Not yet registered?

For more information about the IBMS Congress and Exhibition or to register to attend (it’s free to attend the exhibition), visit the Congress website.







Hypoxia and the Hallmarks of Cancer: Angiogenesis and Metastasis

The following was provided by HypOxygen, our distributor of Hypoxic Workstations in the US – Hanahan and Weinberg’s “Hallmarks of Cancer” are at the root of the multi-step progression of cancer, and they are all influenced by hypoxia in the tumor microenvironment. In this mini-review series, HypOxygen has been taking a closer look at the way Hypoxystation users worldwide are delineating the effects of hypoxia on the Hallmarks of Cancer: so far, we’ve showcased Avoiding Immune Destruction and Tumour Promoting Inflammation and Genome Instability and Mutation and Enabling Replicative Immortality.

In the Hypoxystation, researchers working with cells in culture can mimic the physiological conditions that produce those characteristic Hallmarks. The Hypoxystation enables glove-less access to cultivate and manipulate cells under physiological conditions, in a HEPA-clean environment. Oxygen levels in the Hypoxystation can be reliably and accurately adjusted to below 1%, reflecting the high metabolism, low perfusion tumor microenvironment.




Hallmarks Of Cancer
1. Inducing Angiogenesis

Angiogenesis and tumor-associated neo-vascularization are central to the progression of cancer, and hypoxia in the fast-growing, poorly perfused tumor setting is one of the main factors driving the formation of new vessels. Hypoxia in the tumor activates the hypoxia stress response, which is mediated at the cellular level by HIF, VEGF and many other cytokines, growth factors and guidance molecules. As a consequence, endothelial cells and pericytes proliferate and form new blood vessels, which are, however, disorderly and leaky, in turn exacerbating hypoxia in the tumor. Cancer treatment strategies striving to normalize tumor vessels for the purpose of improved drug delivery and alleviation of hypoxia in the tumor are showing great promise.


2. Activating Invasion and Metastasis

As with the other Hallmarks of Cancer, metastasis and cancer progression are correlated with low oxygen levels in the tumor. HIF’s activate the expression of more than 1000 genes, numerous of which play a role in inducing genes involved in the EMT, through direct interactions with HRE’s at promotor sites and other mechanisms such as epigenetic alterations, like methylation/demethylation. Hypoxia promotes migration and invasion by facilitating the endothelial-mesenchymal transition, altering cell-cell contacts, and reducing adhesion to the extra-cellular matrix. Cancer cells and neighboring cells such as fibroblasts are all influenced by hypoxia, and all contribute to the restructuring of the tumor microenvironment. The effects of the Hallmarks of Cancer continually perturb and promote each other, as when hypoxia-driven metabolic reprogramming causes acidification of the extracellular microenvironment through increased production and secretion of lactate, in turn augmenting ECM remodeling and immune evasion. Similarly, formation of novel blood vessels enables extravasation and migration of cancer cells to form new tumors.


Investment in automation for PHE Public Health Laboratory in Manchester

This is a press release from Central Manchester University Hospitals Trust

The PHE Public Health Laboratory in Manchester, which is based at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT), has become the first Microbiology Laboratory in the North West to become automated using COPAN WASPLab (Walk Away Specimen Processor) technology.

Public Health England, the Department of Health and CMFT have all invested to support the introduction of a state-of-the-art automation system for the Manchester Medical Microbiology Partnership (MMMP) laboratory at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

The MMMP, which is a partnership between Public Health England and CMFT, will be significantly strengthened by the investment and the automation, which will assist in the introduction and implementation of new technologies, facilitate new laboratory processes and lead to major improvements in clinical diagnostics within the NHS.

Working with Don Whitley Scientific, two COPAN WASPLab systems have been installed in a completely refurbished laboratory.

The WASPLab is a total laboratory automation system; specimens received into the lab will be processed on the Walk-Away Specimen Processor (WASP), and then incubated automatically. Biomedical Scientists will no longer be faced with stacks of plates and manual inputting of results into the laboratory information system. Instead, they will be interpreting and reporting results from 27 megapixel images.

It has long been thought that Bacteriology was the last bastion of traditional manual techniques, but the way in which the plates are read and interpreted will change dramatically with the new system.The new laboratory was recently officially opened by PHE Chief Executive Duncan Selbie and Sir Michael Deegan, CMFT Trust Chief Executive.

The investment will lead to significant increases in specimen processing quality, traceability, capacity and reduction in turnaround times – all good news for our users and our patients.


PHE - Total Laboratory Automation

Duck, duck, goose – diagnosis of avian botulism redefined

This article was provided by Microbiology International, Don Whitley Scientific’s US distributor of Anaerobic Workstations.

Large outbreaks of avian botulism with losses of over 50,000 wild birds occur regularly in Canada and the United States, and poultry farms worldwide also experience serious losses due to botulism neurotoxins. Clostridium botulinum is an obligate anaerobe that produces spores that persist for many years, and the botulinum toxin is one of the most potent toxins known to man.

Workstation users Le Marechal et al. at ANSES in France have previously developed a reliable, rapid and less expensive alternative to the mouse bioassay for confirmation of botulism, using liver from birds exhibiting symptoms as matrices for real-time PCR.  In their new paper “Development and Validation of a New Reliable Method for the Diagnosis of Avian Botulism”, Le Marechal et al. describe their investigation into optimised consensus conditions for the detection of type III avian botulism strains in liver.

The group at ANSES examined a number of parameters in developing their assay, including the options for pooling samples at different time points; times and temperatures of storage; homogenisation methods; and methods for producing anaerobic culture conditions. Both naturally contaminated and spiked liver samples were incubated in anaerobic jars, using either Gas-Paks or an anaerobic gas mix (10% CO2, 10% H2 and 80% N2), or in the Don Whitley Scientific A35 anaerobic workstation. Results were unambiguous: detection of low levels of some spores in anaerobic jars was only ~30% (gas mix) and ~65% (Gas-Pak) of the detection achieved in the A35 anaerobic chamber. The authors conclude that “Anaerobic chambers should therefore be preferred to detect low levels of type C spores.”

The A35, distributed in the US by Microbiology International, achieves reliably anaerobic culture conditions throughout the full internal volume of the chamber; the optional “anaerobic conditions monitoring system” senses and displays real-time oxygen levels for added security. Features such as automated humidity control, glove-less access ports, airlock and single-plate entry into the chamber, password protected user interaction and a removable front make the A35 the most user-friendly and reliable anaerobic workstation available to microbiology labs.

It’s no wonder Le Marechal et al. conclude, “The use of an anaerobic chamber was also better than the use of an anaerobic container, regardless of the anaerobic atmosphere. Therefore, insofar as possible, the use of an anaerobic chamber for the detection of Cbotulinum group III is recommended, especially for the detection of a low level of spores”.




Diagnosis scheme for avian botulism by detection of C. botulinumin livers using real-time PCR. Parameters optimized in this study are shown in bold. From “Development and Validation of a New Reliable Method for the Diagnosis of Avian Botulism”,