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Publication numberUS3246959 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 19, 1966
Filing dateMar 21, 1963
Priority dateMar 21, 1963
Publication numberUS 3246959 A, US 3246959A, US-A-3246959, US3246959 A, US3246959A
InventorsJohn H Brewer
Original AssigneeJohn H Brewer
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for generating gas
US 3246959 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 19, 1966 J. H. BREWER APPARATUS FOR GENERATING GAS 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 21, 1965 INVENTOR. JO/l/V H. EAEWE/P ATTO/FNE'KS April 19, 1966 BREWER 3,246,959

APPARATUS FOR GENERATING GAS Filed March 21, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 JO/M/ H. BREWER United States Patent 3,246,959 APPARATUS FOR GENERATING GAS John H. Brewer, 425 Oak Lane, Towson, Md. Filed Mar. 21, 1963, Ser. No. 267,040 3 Claims. c1. 23-282) This invention relates to a gas-producing device and method which provides a non-toxic atmosphere for culturing microorganisms and more particularly to a device and method which evolve gas for aerobiosis and anaerobiosis under controlled conditions in which a predetermined volume of gas is evolved.

The growth of many microorganisms is hindered when exposed to atmospheric conditions. Thus, a special apparatus must be supplied for their growth and provision of a non-toxic atmosphere must be introduced in the apparatus to sustain the growth of the microorganisms. Microorganisms such as gonococcus, meningococcus and brucella require substantially higher concentration of carbon dioxide over that of ordinary atmosphere for proper growth. Microorganisms that are obligate anaerobes such as the bacilli of tetanus, gas gangrene, botulinus and bacteroides require the absence of oxygen for proper growth. Therefore, non-toxic atmospheres must be provided in the culturing apparatus to maintain proper growth of the desired microorganisms. The devices and methods heretofore used are generally inconvenient, expensive and require skilled technicians to perform them.

There are many difi'iculties and disadvantges presented when using aerobic and anaerobic culturing apparatus for use in culturing microorganisms. Methods employed for supplying a non-toxic atmosphere in an apparatus for culturing microorganisms are the use of a stored cylinder gas, such as hydrogen, illuminating gas, carbon dioxide or the like, and chemical adsorbers of oxygen. The cylinder gas is generally stored under pressure in which monometers, gauges, reducing valves are needed to introduce a measured amount of gas into the apparatus. However, this method has proved inconvenient and expensive-and at times highly dangerous because an excess of gas placed into the apparatus could cause an explosion due to excessive pressure. The necessity of bulky and expensive component parts of the apparatus does not lend itself to mobility for use outside the laboratory. Other methods also employed, such as chemicals or catalysts which burn out trace amounts of oxygen remaining in the apparatus are inconvenient, in that skilled technicians are needed to handle the chemicals such as red phosphorus which is highly comustible in the presence of oxygen.

It is therefore an object of my invention to provide a device in which a predetermined amount of non-toxic gas may be supplied to microaerophilic and anaerobic culturing apparatus, in which the device is disposable, which eliminates the need for gauges, reducing valves, monometers, vacuum pumps, cylinders of gas and'other sources of combustible gas. Also, the danger of explosion from gas under high pressure is substantially eliminated.

Another object of my invention is to provide a mobile microaerophilic and anaerobic culturing apparatus for use outside the laboratory in which the use of highly skilled technicians is not needed; also, to provide a device as a source of non-toxic gas for aerobiosis and anaerobiosis in which the device is disposable and inexpensive to manufacture.

My invention generally contemplates a device which is disposable and which is capable of evolving a nontoxic atmosphere for culturing aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms in culturing apparatus of the type in general use.


More specifically, my invention contemplates the provision of a sealed envelope having a plurality of chambers or compartments. In one of the chambers I provide material which when mixed with a liquid evolves or generates a non-toxic gas or atmosphere suitable for aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms. Another compartment receives a liquid and transfers it at a controlled, relatively slow rate to the first compartment whereby the gas or atmosphere is evolved at a similar controlled slow rate.

Other objects of my invention will become more apparent from the accompanying drawings by way of illustration thereof, in which:

FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a gas producing device embodying my invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevational view in cross-section of an anaerobe jar having my improved gas producing device therein;

FIG. 3 is a horizontal sectional view taken along line 33 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a horizontal sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken along line 5--5 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken on line 66 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is an elevational view of another embodiment of my invention; and

FIG. 8 is a vertical sectional view along line 8-8 of FIG. 7. 7

My improved apparatus comprises an envelope 10 made of a suitable material which is impervious to the atmosphere and to moisture and which is inert thereto and is also inert to the materials 12 contained in the envelope and the gas generated thereby. For this purpose I may employ a metallic foil, such as aluminum foil coated on its inner surface with a thermoplastic material, such as polyethylene or a polymer or copolymer of vinyl chloride. The envelope 10 may be formed from two panels 14 and 15 suitably secured together around their edges 16, 17, 18 and 19 as by heat sealing. The envelope 10 is divided internally into a plurality of compartments including a first liquid receiving compartment 20 and a second gas generating compartment 21. The compartments 20 and 21 are separated by a suitable partition 22 which is formed by means such as heat sealing and extends diagonally across the envelope. The partition 22 includes a liquid transfer portion 23 for transferring liquid at a controlled slow rate of speed from the first compartment 20 to the second compartment 21. For this purpose I prefer to provide porous wick-like means having a porosity which prevents the free flow of liquid therethrough but through which the liquid may diffuse from the first compartment 20 to the second compartment 21. Thus, the partition 22 may be formed by a heat seal line extending diagonally across envelope 10. Included between the two panels 14 and 15 along the heat seal line 22 are strips of a porous material 23 and 24, such as filter paper, blotting paper, cotton twill, sintered glass or the like, which serve as a means to transfer liquid from the first compartment 20 to the second compartment 21 and serves to transfer the gas evolved in the second compartment '21 in an outward direction.

In the second chamber I provide a suitable gas generating material 12 which Will generate or evolve gas when mixed with the liquid from the first compartment 20. It is obvious that materials and the proportions used will vary depending upon the type of gas to be generated and the volume that is necessary to produce aerobiosis or anaerobiosis. Since the apparatus generally used has a volume of approximately 2 liters the gas evolving materials 12 employed by me are calculated to yield a volume of gas of approximately 2 liters at standard temperature and pressure.

For the production of hydrogen the following may be used:

Example 1 Gms. Magnesium turnings 3.5 Sodium chloride 2.5 Zinc chloride 1.0

Approximately 10.0 cc. of water previously supplied to the liquid receiving chamber is transferred at a slow rate to the gas generating chamber to thereby slowly generate the hydrogen. 1 have found that the use of sodium chloride accelerates the reaction at a controlled rate and goes to completion within approximately 30 minutes, but when sodium chloride is not used thetreaction proceeds at a much slower rate.

Example 2 Sodium borohydride 0.9 gms.

The same procedure is followed as described in Example 1 when adding approximately 10.0 cc. of water. To accelerate the reaction at a controlled rate I may use .2 gms. of nickel or cobalt as a catalyst. Also, to prevent the decomposition of the sodium borohydride a water soluble coating, such as gelatin is provided- Example 3 For the production of carbon dioxide:


Citric acid 0.7 Sodium carbonate 0.867

Example 4 For the production of acetylene gas:

Calcium carbide 2.95 gms.

The same procedure is followed as described in Example 1 when adding approximately 10.0 cc. of water. The calcium carbide is in finely divided form and is treated with an oil to prevent slaking of the calcium carbide when in contact with air. Acetylene will be generated upon contacting the calcium carbide with water, however, in order to control the rate of reaction, a watersoluble coating such as gelatin or methylcellulose, is provided to encase the carbide. Also, the controlled rate of transfer of water from the first compartment 20 to the second compartment 21 Controls the evolution of acetylene.

The above examples are illustrative of various types of gas that may be evolved from my device by reacting a liquid with a predetermined amount of gas evolving materials to obtain a predetermined volume of gas.

When using my envelope 10, the liquid receiving compartment 20 is arranged so that it may be readily opened for the introduction of liquid therein. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a corner 26 is torn or cut away so that 10.0 cc. of water may be introduced into compartment 20. The water flows through the liquid transfer portion 23 at a controlled relatively slow rate into compartment 21 and mixes with materials 12 as previously described by way of Examples 1 to 4. The gas evolved passes from compartment 21 in an outward direction through transfer portion 24.

When using my envelope 10 in accordance with FIGS. 7 and 8 a measured quantity of liquid is provided in chamber 27. A frangible partition 28 is formed by means such as heat sealing panels 14 and 15 of envelope 10 as shown in FIG. 7. Also, the measured quantity of liquid may be placed in a frangible envelope and placed in compartment 20. It should be noted that partition 28 or said frangible envelope is such that it will rupture under slight pressure, yet the pressure will not rupture partition 22 or the sealed edges 16, 17, 18 and 19 of envelope 10. After the liquid has been transferred into compartment 20 edge 26 is cut or torn away as shown in FIG. 2. The same procedure is followed as previously described from the point in which the liquid is introduced into compartment 20.

In carrying out an embodiment of my invention reference is had to FIG. 2 in which an anaerobe jar is illustrated embodying my invention in operative form. The jar comprises a container portion 30 which has a flanged rim 31 so that the top 32 may be sealed thereon. Petri dishes 35 or culture tubes containing the anaerobic cultures are placed in container 30, as shown in FIG. 2. Corner 26 of envelope 10 is cut or severed therefrom and panels 14 and 15 are spread open so that compartment 20 is exposed and a measured amount of liquid, such as water, is placed therein. The water when placed in compartment 20 remains therein for a short period of time enabling the jar to be sealed so that the gas evolved will not escape to the atmosphere. The wick means 23 provides suflicient delay time in which the transfer of water from the compartment 20 to compartment 21 permits the jar to be sealed so that the gas evolved is completely contained in the anaerobe jar. The gas evolved passes from compartment 21 through wick means 24, through compartment 20 and finally fills the anaerobe jar. The lid 32 comprises a clamp 36 which is detachably connected to rim 31 of container 30 and is fastened in sealing engagement with the surface of rim 31 to prevent passage of gas out of the jar. Lid 32 is fitted with a heating element 37 sealed in a solid brass tube 38 and has a platinized wire gauze 39 secured at opposite ends of lid 32. The oxygen and other gases combine in space 40 when an electrical current is connected to the brass tube 37 for a period of 30 minutes. Thus, it will be seen after the oxygen has been completely reacted the atmosphere remaining in the jar is a non-toxic atmosphere which will permit the culturing of anaerobic bacteria. The gas evolved is chemically generated by materials 12 when reacted with water to give a predetermined volume of gas. My invention, therefore, provides a source of gas Without the use of monometers, gauges, vacuum pumps or cylinders of gas. As is obvious, the procedure for providing a non-toxic atmosphere for aerobic organisms will vary so that the oxygen is not chemically reacted but remains as part of the non-toxic atmosphere.

While I have described the embodiments of my invention in the specification and shown my device by the illustrated drawings, changes may be made thereto without departing from the scope of the appended claims.

I claim:

1. A device providing a non-toxic atmosphere for use in culturing anaerobic microorganisms comprising: an envelope made of a material inert to the contents thereof and to the gas generated therein and unaffected by the heat of reaction of the hereinafter mentioned gas-generating material and liquid, said envelope having a first liquid-receiving chamber and a second gas-generating chamber and material disposed in said second chamber for generating a gaseous atmosphere suitable for culturing anerobic microorganisms when mixed with a liquid, said envelope being provided'with a partition separating said chambers from each other and having porous fluid transfer means including a water inlet portion and a gas egress portion through which the liquid slowly diffuses from the first chamber to the second chamber at a controlled, relatively slow rate to react with the material to generate gas at a controlled, relatively slow rate and through which the gas which is evolved in the second chamber may dilfuse in an outward direction, said first chamber being initially free from liquid adjacent the porous transfer means and having a frangible portion which may be ruptured to afford access for the liquid to the chamber.

2. A device providing a non-toxic atmosphere for 10 use in culturing anerobic microorganisms as set forth in claim 1 in which the partition between the chambers is diagonally disposed and the porous transfer means comprises a wick extending through the lower portion of the partition for transferring liquid from the first to the second chamber and a wick near the upper portion of the partition through which the gas may evolve.

3. A device providing a non-toxic atmosphere for use in culturing anaerobic microorganisms as set forth in claim 1 in which the envelope is made of an outer layer of metallic foil and an inner layer of thermoplastic material heat sealed around the edges and across the partition.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,828,245 3/1958 Freaney 195-109 2,981,660 4/1961 Achorn et a1. 195-142 3,013,950 12/1961 Gavin 195-142 3,041,250 6/1962 Wolnak et al. 195109 3,102,082 8/1963 Brewer 195-139 MORRIS O. WOLK, Primary Examiner.

15 A. LOUIS MONACELL, Examiner.


Assistant Examiners.

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U.S. Classification422/236, 435/805, 206/439, 435/801, 206/223, 422/240
International ClassificationC12M1/04
Cooperative ClassificationY10S435/805, C12M41/34, C12M23/34, Y10S435/801, C12M29/04
European ClassificationC12M1/04B