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Quality testing of autoclaved rodent drinking water during short-term and long-term storage


All animals need clean water to drink. At the authors' animal facility, drinking water for immunocompromised rodents is filtered by reverse osmosis, acidified during bottling and sterilized in an autoclave. Autoclaved water bottles can be stored in unopened autoclave bags for 7 d or in opened bags for 2 d; if not used during that time, they are emptied, cleaned, refilled and sterilized again. The authors wished to determine whether the storage period of 2–7 d was adequate and necessary to ensure the quality of drinking water. They tested water bottles for pH levels and for the presence of adenosine triphosphate as a measure of organic contamination during short-term and long-term storage. The pH of autoclaved drinking water generally remained stable during storage. Furthermore, no instances of organic contamination were detected in autoclaved water bottles stored for up to 22 d in unopened bags and only one instance was detected in bottles stored for up to 119 d in opened bags in a room with individually ventilated cages. On the basis of these findings, the acceptable storage period for autoclaved water bottles in opened bags at the authors' facility was extended to 21 d.

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We thank our cage wash and husbandry staff, without whom this work would not have been possible, especially Angie Bohall, RLATg, Suz Hewitt, RALAT, Mark Galovic and Cindy Wooldridge, RLATg. We thank Melissa Swan, RVT, AAS, RALAT, for help with the microbiology plan. We also thank Dr. John Turchi, PhD for access to his lab and use of his Accumet pH meter.

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Correspondence to Jessica L. Peveler.

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Peveler, J., Crisler, R. & Hickman, D. Quality testing of autoclaved rodent drinking water during short-term and long-term storage. Lab Anim 44, 211–215 (2015).

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