The use of germ-free (GF) isolators for microbiome-related research is exponentially increasing, yet limited by its cost, isolator size and potential for trans-contamination. As such, current isolator technology is highly limiting to researchers engaged in short period experiments involving multiple mouse strains and employing a variety of mono-inoculated microorganisms. In this study, we evaluate the use of positive pressure Isocages as a solution for short period studies (days to 2-3 weeks) of experimentation with GF mice at multiple simultaneous conditions. We demonstrate that this new Isocage technology is cost-effective and room-sparing, and enables maintenance of multiple simultaneous groups of GF mice. Using this technology, transferring GF mice from isolators to Isocage racks for experimentation, where they are kept under fully germ-free conditions, enables parallel inoculation with different bacterial strains and simultaneous experimentation with multiple research conditions. Altogether, the new GF Isocage technology enables the expansion of GF capabilities in a safe and cost-effective manner that can facilitate the growth, elaboration and flexibility of microbiome research.
Keywords: Isocage; germ-free mice.
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