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Open Access Evaluation of Peroxides and Chlorine Oxides as Disinfectants for Chemical Sterilization of Gnotobiotic Rodent Isolators

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Gnotobiotic animal research has expanded markedly over the past decade. Although germ-free animals were first described more than 100 y ago, little evidence-based guidance is available on best operational procedures. A key aspect of gnotobiotic technology is the sterilization of animal enclosures, most commonly flexible vinyl film isolators. The objective of this study was to determine the most effective methods for chemical sterilization of gnotobiotic isolators and associated equipment. As test microbes, we used bacteria from 4 different accidental isolator contaminations that occurred in a gnotobiotic core facility. Identification by 16S ribotyping revealed facultative anaerobic firmicutes, including several Paenibacillus and Bacillus species, and obligate aerobic actinobacteria, namely Micrococcus luteus, among the contaminants. We selected 6 products commonly used for disinfecting hospital rooms, kitchens, and veterinary facilities to represent chlorine-oxide– and peroxide-based disinfectants and tested the hypothesis that these 2 classes are equally effective. However, evaluation of bactericidal and sporicidal activity in liquid cultures revealed that chlorine oxide-based disinfectants were more effective than peroxide-based disinfectants. In both groups, various products effectively sterilized gnotobiotic isolators by fogging in field tests, although bactericidal concentrations were markedly higher than those in suspension cultures, and effectiveness was contact-time–dependent. In addition, in both groups, some disinfectants were excessively corrosive to ferrous metals and acrylic. These results demonstrate that no single disinfectant has all desirable properties and that the different characteristics of disinfectants must be balanced during their selection. However, chlorine oxide-based disinfectants were generally more effective and less corrosive than peroxide-based products.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Animal Care Program, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 2: Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 3: Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: September 1, 2019

This article was made available online on July 18, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Evaluation of Peroxides and Chlorine Oxides as Disinfectants for Chemical Sterilization of Gnotobiotic Rodent Isolators".

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

    Attention Members: To access the full text of the articles, be sure you are logged in to the AALAS website.

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