Germfree Core

Germfree Isocage Biosafety Station

In partnership with the Department of Immunology’s Dr. Dana Philpott and her CFI funded Host Microbiome Network, DCM hosts innovative equipment and provides dedicated personnel to support your mouse based germfree, ex-germfree or gnotobiotic project.

The core has been validated germfree for >11 months by quality assurance testing of mouse derived and environmental samples using standard bacterial culture techniques and qPCR.  

The core has expanded to provide B6 wildtype mice to users. Germfree breeding founders were obtained from Taconic labs and the colony will be maintained with regular refreshment by germfree Taconic mice. Equipment for rederivation will allow you to import any line of interest for your germfree project.

The University of Toronto Germfree Core uses the Tecniplast individually ventilated cage (IVC) system (Tecniplast ISOcage™). The IVC system provides isolator protection at the cage level. Multiple studies can be carried out on the same rack, and potential for contamination between cages is excluded. In contrast to standard flexible film or semi rigid isolators, the rack system affords the same high density housing as for SPF mouse housing.  

In the IVC system, mice are maintained germfree by positive pressure airtight caging (Tecniplast ISOcage™), shown left. Cage level HEPA filters (A) ensure a sterile air supply. Self-sealing double gaskets (B) creates an airtight seal for each cage.  All cage opening or mouse handling is performed with strict adherence to standard operating procedures in the custom ISOcage™ biosafety station (IBS) equipped with dunk tank containing liquid sterilant for cage and supply introduction.  An additional port allows for introduction of incoming animals or autoclaved supplies. All supplies entering the core will be autoclaved, validated and transported by highly trained DCM staff dedicated to the core.

Germfree facility: Isocage, labelled
Germfree facility: Isocage & IBS