The development of standard operating procedures for efficient activities in laboratory animal facilities is a normal practice, well known by both facility managers and technicians around the world.

The identification of new and specific procedures following the introduction of housing systems dedicated to the maintenance of colonies with known microbiology as in the case of gnotobiotic animals is a relatively simple activity for those who already have experience with this type of animal.

Despite this, it is essential to identify as a priority the fundamental steps of the husbandry process in order to develop a solid framework to subsequently support all the other activities.

Some procedures cannot be ignored and must be defined in detail as well as, in some cases, validated as to their effectiveness.

In order to work with the Iso Positive system, we have therefore identified 7 “Hot SOPs” which, depending on the different operational potentials, should be considered in order to be able to start in a serene way with the maintenance activity of gnotobiotic animals.

  1. Validation of the autoclave cycle. Load 1. Trolley with cages + bedding + diet (the latter is optional and the alternative is the use of irradiated diet).
  2. Validation of the autoclave cycle. Load 2. Trolley with Isocages with 7 bottles each (filled with water); the alternative is a cycle of Pyrex bottles filled with water.
  3. Validation of the IBS decontamination with H2O2 or Peracetic acid or other disinfectant.
  4. Introduction of dirty and clean cages in IBS for routine procedures.
  5. Cage change procedure (forceps/no forceps to move animals)
  6. Cage HEPA filter change routine and procedure.
  7. Set up and decontamination of the service cage. List of tools in the service cage (kit).

The procedures in this list are an important starting point which allows both to make critical decisions about the materials to be used (disinfectants, type of sterilization of feed or water) and to define the management perimeters of the production process.

Other, undoubtedly important procedures, will be mostly a consequence of the 7 “Hot SOPs” i.e. Preparation of the disinfectant for the dunk-tank and will complete the picture.