The anaerobic chamber, or anaerobic glove box, is a unit in which the atmosphere can be controlled. They are used, therefore, on materials that are sensitive to exposure to oxygen, general isolation, and products that cannot be contaminated. They are placed in laboratories so that researchers can work on samples without them being exposed to any outside contaminants. Through these boxes, laboratory experts can control humidity, temperature, carbon dioxide, and oxygen. They also come with various features, designed to make the job easier to complete.
A Brief History of Anaerobic Chambers
The first anaerobic glove box was developed four decades ago in a microbiological lab. Since then, it continues to be an important tool in applications and research across the world. In fact, it has proven instrumental for a number of studies, particularly those relating to solid media and microorganisms.
Today, most pieces of cutting-edge research looking at infectious diseases, new drugs, bioremediation, biofuels, and biomass, utilize these chambers. They are also used to measure patient specimens to determine whether a disease is present. Further, it enables analysts to see whether a certain antibiotic is effective.
The University of Michigan Medical School’s Rolf Freter was the original brain behind the chamber. He needed a number of anaerobes, a particularly organism, and ask Dick Coy, a local engineer, to come up with something. This resulted in the Coy Anaerobic Chamber, which was the first of its kind. Since then, things have changed tremendously. For instance, rigid chambers and vinyl chambers were also developed. Additionally, the chambers started to use new components like the airlock, temperature controls, fan boxes, catalysts, and gas. Furthermore, specific configurations now also exist.
It cannot be stressed enough how important these chambers have been in the rapid development of modern medicine over the past few decades. It is thanks to them that we now have cures for a range of diseases, and that the next pandemic is likely to be manageable. A good example, for instance, is the Ebola virus, of which there was an outbreak in Sierra Leonne in recent years. This virus, which has existed for a very long time, affected huge metropolitan areas, even making its way across to the USA, for the first time. This drove to an extreme and urgent need for a cure, which in turn required scientists to look at the virus’ behavior. This had to be done under controlled conditions, not in the least because of the volatility of the virus and high contagion rate. Thanks to anaerobic chambers, however, solutions could be found and the outbreak could be contained.
Laboratories are highly complex spaces in which everything is controller. The airflow is monitored, people have to get clean and disinfected on entering and leaving the lab, and more. The anaerobic chamber is just one of the many features found in laboratories to facilitate that. However, some say that it is by far the most important one, since the chamber itself creates its own unique atmosphere.