In microbiome research, or the study of all those squirmy microbes that live inside of us, there could not be a more important animal than the germ-free mouse.

In the real world, we are constantly surrounded by countless living organisms. Even ordinary lab mice are exposed to everyday microbes in their food and bedding, but for the extraordinary germ-free mouse, this presents a problem:

How can you deliver food, bedding and water free of the pathogens most of us encounter every day?

Charles River’s Transgenic facility has developed an innovative solution—autoclave cylinders that both clean and deliver food and bedding to germ-free mice. These cylinders allow any material that needs to be introduced to the mouse enclosure to be steam sterilized and delivered to the isolated cage without being contaminated.

In this first podcast episode of Eureka’s “Sounds of Science,” Senior Manager Rich Morin and narrator Mary Parker explain the intricacies of how the customized cylinders are assembled and the quality control measures that need to be done to ensure the cylinders are functioning properly.