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Green e-coli cells.

Microbes that will take your breath away

Anaerobes are microorganisms that don’t require oxygen in order to survive or proliferate. Instead of oxygen, anaerobic organisms use electron acceptors such as nitrate or sulfate and other inorganic acceptors that have a lower reduction potential than oxygen, thus resulting in less efficient respiration.

When working with anaerobic cultures, it is important to avoid unnecessary exposure to oxygen. While some anaerobes do tolerate oxygen, the use of oxygen and inorganic compounds by anaerobic organisms can differ greatly between species. Obligate anaerobes, such as Clostridium species, can only survive and reproduce in the absence of oxygen; these organisms are often killed by the presence of oxygen. Similarly, aerotolerant anaerobes, such as Lactobacillus species, cannot use oxygen during respiration; however, unlike strict anaerobes, these microorganisms can tolerate oxygen for short periods of time.

Do you need anaerobes for your research? A massive colony of anaerobic organisms is closer than you may think! ATCC offers a growing list of anaerobic bacteria and archaea isolated from human, animal, or environmental sources that can be used in microbiome research, next-generation sequencing, assay development, pathogen-host interaction studies, and more.

Explore our collection of anaerobes for your research needs.

Watch our webinar to learn how to propagate anaerobic bacteria

Gloved hand holding petri dish containing green agar and bacteria cultures.

Preserving anaerobes

To properly preserve anaerobic bacteria, anaerobic conditions must be maintained during the growth, harvesting, dispensing, and freezing processes. The cryoprotectant and suspending medium must also be pre-reduced, and anaerobic conditions should be maintained with oxygen-free gas flow using a sterile cannula. Download our free guide for step-by-step protocols on how to handle and preserve anaerobes.

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