Processing and treatment of corncob bedding affects cage-change frequency for C57BL/6 mice

Daniel A Domer, Rebecca L Erickson, Joann M Petty, Valerie K Bergdall, Judy M Hickman-Davis
Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science: JAALAS 2012, 51 (2): 162-9
The goal of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a new proprietary processed corncob bedding material (PCC)compared with standard corncob in ventilated and static mouse housing systems. Intracage ammonia levels, bacterial growth, and absorptive capacity of bedding were measured for cages of C57BL/6 mice under nonautoclaved and autoclaved conditions on static and ventilated racks in a barrier facility. Ammonia concentration was measured daily, and cages were removed from the study when measurements reached or exceeded 25 ppm. Bacterial growth in bedding was quantified and speciated before exposure to mice and at the time of cage removal. The absorptive capacity of all bedding material was determined under autoclaved and nonautoclaved conditions. Ventilated cages with PCC or autoclaved corncob took longer to reach ammonia concentrations of 25 ppm than did those with corncob or autoclaved PCC; PCC-filled cages remained below 25 ppm NH3 for at least 3 wk. The type of bedding material did not affect the number of days required to reach 25 ppm in static cages. Compared with other bedding types in the absence of mice, 1/4-in. PCC had a lower and 1/8-in. corncob a higher bacterial load. Autoclaving altered the absorptive capacity of 1/4-in. bedding materials, and for 1/8-in. bedding, corncob was more absorptive than PCC regardless of autoclaving. The results of this study indicate that PCC is comparable to autoclaved corncob in controlling intracage ammonia levels, and a cage-change interval of 3 wk is possible when ventilated cages are used with this bedding.

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