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Anaerobic laboratory

Laboratory for the cultivation and conservation of strictly anaerobic micro-organisms

Advantages of anaerobic culture

The intestinal microbiota is made up of 100 thousand billion bacterial cells, i.e. 10 times more than human cells(1). Most of these bacteria are concentrated in the colon, which offers totally anaerobic environmental conditions. This means that most of the bacteria making up our microbiota are strict anaerobes(2). These bacteria require complex nutritional and gaseous environmental conditions for their growth.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of gaining a better understanding of these anaerobic bacteria and their impact on host health. Indeed, the low abundance of these bacteria in the intestinal microbiota has already been correlated with the development of chronic intestinal diseases (3,4,5). The development of biotechnological tools for the cultivation, stabilisation and conservation of these bacteria, which are more sensitive than those produced today, are challenges that have been taken up by the UMR-PAM as part of several collaborative projects between academic and industrial partners.

The benefits of anaerobic culture are not confined to the human microbiota. The problem is also often encountered in the production of biofuels using bacteria, or in the study of ecological niches characterised by the absence of oxygen, such as the seabed.

A dedicated anaerobic laboratory at the cutting edge of biotechnology

UMR-PAM has the human and material resources to study microorganisms that are extremely sensitive to oxygen (OSE) and therefore difficult to grow and preserve. In addition to the study of these complex microorganisms, the impact of changes in the gaseous atmosphere on the properties of microorganisms and their responses to stress are issues that are addressed within UMR-PAM.(6).

Promising results have already been obtained from an FUI project on the production of a strictly anaerobic and OSE bacterium, concerning large-scale biomass production, optimisation of stabilisation yield and viability after long storage periods.

Video presentation

Oral communication at the Colloque Flores microbiennes d'intérêt on 7 October 2014: The problematic case of strictly anaerobic bacteria


  • (1) Hooper, L. V., & Gordon, J. I. (2001). Commensal host-bacterial relationships in the gut. Science, 292(5519), 1115-1118.
  • (2) Hold, G. L., Schwiertz, A., Aminov, R. I., Blaut, M., & Flint, H. J. (2003). Oligonucleotide probes that detect quantitatively significant groups of butyrate-producing bacteria in human feces. Applied and environmental microbiology, 69(7), 4320-4324.
  • (3) Sokol, H., Pigneur, B., Watterlot, L., Lakhdari, O., Bermúdez-Humarán, L. G., Gratadoux, J. J., ... & Langella, P. (2008). Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is an anti-inflammatory commensal bacterium identified by gut microbiota analysis of Crohn disease patients. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(43), 16731-16736.
  • (4) Qin, J., Li, R., Raes, J., Arumugam, M., Burgdorf, K. S., Manichanh, C., ... & Weissenbach, J. (2010). A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing. Nature, 464(7285), 59-65.
  • (5) Ebel, B., Lemetais, G., Beney, L., Cachon, R., Sokol, H., Langella, P., & Gervais, P. (2014). Impact of probiotics on risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. A review. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 54(2), 175-189.
  • (6) Ebel, B., Martin, F., Le, L. D. T., Gervais, P., & Cachon, R. (2011). Use of gases to improve survival of Bifidobacterium bifidum by modifying redox potential in fermented milk. Journal of dairy science, 94(5), 2185-2191.