Shimadzu Corporation begins test marketing of its “Intestinal Bacteria Co-Culture Device,” which can co-culture intestinal bacteria and intestinal epithelial cells. In recent years, the development of pharmaceuticals and foods that utilize intestinal bacteria has been gaining momentum. Research on intestinal bacteria requires reproduction of the intestinal environment consisting of intestinal microflora and intestinal epithelium, but there have been few devices that can easily reproduce the intestinal environment. While some intestinal bacteria grow in an anaerobic environment without oxygen, intestinal epithelial cells must be cultured in an aerobic environment with oxygen, making it difficult to culture intestinal bacteria and intestinal epithelial cells simultaneously.
Shimadzu, in collaboration with Professor Takamine Katayama of Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Life Sciences, has developed an intestinal bacteria co-culture device that can simultaneously culture intestinal bacteria and intestinal epithelial cells. First, intestinal epithelial cells are cultured in advance in a monolayer using a well plate with a membrane-like bottom. Next, the well plate is placed on top of the company’s proprietary culture vessel filled with an oxygen-containing medium, and the culture vessel and well plate are combined. The lower part of the intestinal epithelial cells then comes into contact with the oxygen-containing medium, creating an aerobic environment. Furthermore, the upper part of the intestinal epithelial cells becomes an oxygen-free anaerobic environment by placing the device with the coalesced incubator and well plate in an anaerobic chamber. In the anaerobic chamber, intestinal bacteria and culture media for bacteria can be added on top of the intestinal epithelial cells to co-culture the intestinal bacteria and intestinal epithelial cells.