US 3308039 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 7, 1967 E. L. NELSON 3,308,039
DISPOSABLE CULTURING DEVICE Original Filed Jan. 5l, 1964 INVENTOR.
Efe/c L. NELSON United States Patent O 3,308,039 DISPOSABLE CULTURING DEVICE Eric L. Nelson, Los Angeles, Calif., assignor to Allergan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., a corporation of California Continuation of application Ser. No. 341,530, Jan. 31, 1964. This'application Feb. 15, 1966, Ser. No. 532,830 6 Claims. (Cl. 195-14tl) The present application is a continuationof my copendng application Serial No. 341,530, tiled January 31, 1964, now abandoned.
This invention relates t-o a disposable device for culturing bacteria. Its design is especially adapted to permit Ia practicing physician to perform some bacteriological laboratory work in his own office.
Physicians are oft-en faced with the alternative of selecting an antibiotic treatment for an infectious condition by guesswork or, alternatively, of taking a culture and sending it out to a laboratory for analysis at considerable expense to his patient. Because of the cost and time involved, it is not surprising that the physician will often elect not to take cultures and instead will rely on a trialand-error method in the selection of an effective antibacterial agent.
In -accordance with the present practice, when cultures are taken, they must be sealed and transferred to a bacteriological laboratory. There the cultures are incubated in suitable nutrients and the effectiveness of various antibacterial -agents against the bacteria is investigated. The whole process will usually take a minimum time period of overnight and may require a full day o-r so and during this period a critical stage in the patients condition may occur.
It is a principal object of the present invention t-o provide a disposable culturing device that may be used by the physician in his ofice as a diagnostic aid in the treatment of his patients.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a culturing device that may be used yby a practicing physician in his office to aid him in the selection of effective antibiotic treatment.
Another object of the invention is to provide a culturing device which can be used without requiring special laboratory facilities and conditions; the culture itself being protected against extraneous contamination, and easily manipulated in an aseptic manner.
Other objects and advantages will appear from the following specification and drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is a longitudinal sectional view of a preferred embodiment of the disposable culturing device of the invention;
1 FIG. 2 is a left end view of the device of FIG. l;
FIG. 3 is another longitudinal sectional view of the disposable culturing device of the invention with the end closures removed therefrom;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along line 4 4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is Ian enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the area 5 encircled in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is an isometric view, partially cut away, illustrating the manner in which individual disposable culturing devices of the invention are packaged in heat scalable lm and disposed in a multiple container carton.
FIG. 7 is a longitudinal sectional view of still another embodiment of the disposable culturing device of the invention;
FIG. 8 is an enlarged cross-sectional view, taken along line 8 8 of FIG. 7 with a swab member removed therefrom;
FG. 9 is a longitudinal sectional view of another form of the device of the invention; and
FIG. l0 is a sectional view of the device of FIG. 9 taken along line lil- 1li of that ligure. p
The disposable culturing device 10 of FIGS. 1-4, inclusive, includes a tubular member 12 mad-e of a clear plastic and closed at its opposite ends by closures 14 and 16. The tubular merniber 12 of FIGS. l-V4 is made up of two longitudinal .half shells 18 and 20 which are held together by a tongue and groove locking arrangement 22 (FIG. 5). The tubular member 12 is divided into four compartments 23 by ve spaced bulkheads 24. The bulkheads 24 extend across the width of the tubular member 12 and each has an axial opening 28 which provides communication between the adjacent compartments 23. Each compartment 23 is provided with nutrient material 3l?. The four compartments 23, or perhaps three of them, will each contain a different antibacterial agent, usually different antibiotics within the nutrient material. The nutrient material 30 will generally comprise a jelling substance, preferably agar-agar or other jelling materials such as gelatinous silica or gelatine itself, into which there are dispersed nutrient substances that will provide the required media for the growth of the bacteria. Various well-known nutrients such as peptone, yeast autolysate, potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, organic fatty acids, glucose, and other carbohydrate materials may be used. The agar-agar or other jelling material imparts a semisolid state to the nutrient materials in each of the compartments 23. Suitable selected antibiotics, sulfa drugs or other antimicrobial agents may be incorporated into these media.
The nutrient material with or without antibiotic occupies only a lower portion of each of the compartments 23.- The head spaces of the several compartments 23 provide suflicient air for cultural conditions. Referring to FIG. 4, it will be seen that the nutrient material 30 in cross section comprises an approximately `segment of a ring. The several bulkheads 24 are made up of two adjacent and complementary segments 34 and 36 which are formed integrally with the respective two tubular half shells 18 and 20. Each of the segments 34 and 36 has the configuration of the cross section of the agar-agar nutrient material 30.
The two closures 14 and 16 in the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 have minor structural differences; however, both are snapped in position over retaining rings 38 and 40 located at the outside opposite ends of the tubular member 12. The closures 14 and 16 are preferably provided with anti-roll lugs 42 (FIG. 2). The tongue and groove lock 22 and the two closures 14 and 16 provide substantially airtight seals.
The disposable culturing device of the invention is desirably made of a clear plastic such as transparent polystyrene. A culturing device made of polystyrene is nearly unbreakable and possesses a degree of resiliency which permits the formation of a substantially hermetic seal between the closures 14 and 16 and tubular member 12. A culturing device made of clear polystyrene may be examined directly without any necessity for opening the device, as would be necessary where an opaque structural material is employed. This arrangement guards -against contamination of the cultures and also protects the physician against contact with virulent bacteria.
The culturing device 10 of the invention is provided with a swab 44 which may be employed by the physician for collecting material from infected lesions and transferring to the nutrient materials of the several compartments 23 for cultivation and microorganisms. In the particular embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 14, the swab 44 comprises an elongated handle 46 of a kitchen match thickness and a cotton mass 48 about one end thereof.
The swab handle 46 at one end is frictionally held in a hole of a boss 5@ formed on the inner face of the closure 14. The other closure 16 has a somewhat larger boss 52 which has a proportionately larger axial cavity in which a portion of the cotton mass end of the swab 44 rests. The device 1t) is preferably provided with a small amount of broth 53 which serves to wet the cotton mass 48 of the swab 44 in preparation for taking of the culture from the patient. The broth 53 is desirably placed in the closure 16 in which the cotton mass end of the swab rests. It will lbe `appreciated that it is not necessary to construct the device so as to retain the broth 53 within the closure. The elongated swab 44%' is disposed axially of the tubular member 12 and is movable into contact with the nutrient materials of the several compartments 23 with movement of the swab lengthwise of the device.
The tubular configuration of the culturing device is a distinctive feature of the invention. Because of its shape the device is easily manipulated by the physician and readily viewed. The location of the swab i4 on the longitudinal axis of the device and its relative position to the nutrient material 3) assures that with the return of the swab to the tubular member 12, the nutrient material of each compartment 23 will be inoculated with the culture. The tubular shape minimizes exposure of the nutrient material when the device is open, thus lessening the likelihood of contamination. The tubular shape is especially adapted to the housing of the swab 44. The tubular device is not necessarily round in cross section, but may take other shapes.
The disposable culturing device lil of the invention following sterilization both inside and out is preferably paci'- aged within a bacterial-impenetrable, iiexible, heat-scalable plastic envelope 54. The envelope 54 in preparation for enclosing of the culturing device 1 9 is sterilized. Polyethylene plastic may be used for the envelope 5d. The envelope 54 guards the freshness of the nutrient material, thereby assuring that the culturing device will be usable even after a long period of storage. The envelope-enclosed culturing devices are desirably positioned in an upright position with the bottom ends thereof within a carton 55 as illustrated in FIG. 6.
The embodiment of FIGS. 7 and 8 differs considerably from the disposable culturing device described above and illustrated in FIGS. 1 5. Here a tubular member Se is formed from a section of a transparent plastic, cylindrical tube which is preferably relatively rigid and made of clear polystyrene or like plastic. A compartmental rack 58 having four compartments 59 is separately formed and slidably disposed within the tubular member S6. The compartments 59 are arranged lengthwise of the rack 58 and of the tubular member 56. A swab 60 is frictionally retained at one end within a boss 61 of a closure 62. A closure 64 at the other end of the tubular segment 56 has the same structure as closure 62. In this embodiment the swab 6i) has its cotton mass covered end 65 immediately overlying one of the compartments 59 of the rack. A small amount of broth 66 is allowed t-o nd its own level within the bottom of the closure which should be kept in an upright position as in FIG. 7. Agitation of the entire device will serve to moisten the swab prior to withdrawing it for the purpose of obtaining cultures. Each of the compartments S9 of the rack contains a small amount of nutrient material and, as before, each of the nutrient materials will be supplied with a diterent antibiotic or other antibacterial composition.
The device of FIGS. 9 and 10 is closed at one end and is flattened along opposite sides to provide flat surfaces '74) and 72 to forestall rolling. The device otherwise resembles that of FIGS. 7 and 8 and is provided with a removable closure 74 and swab (not illustrated). The device is also provided with a rack generally resembling that of the device of FTGS. 7 and 8.
Various changes and modifications can be made in the above invention without departing from the spirit thereof as defined in the appended claims.
1. ln a disposable culturing device, the combination of:
(a) a rigid, transparent, elongated, tubular member having an open end;
(b) compartments within and spaced apart lengthwise of said tubular member;
(c) passage means within and extending lengthwise of said tubular member and interconnecting said cornpartments;
(d) jelled culture media having different characteristics respectively disposed in said compartments and respectively having exposed surfaces extending lengthwise `of said tubular member adjacent said passage means, said exposed surfaces of said culture media being in substantially the same plane;
(e) an elongated inoculation member extending lengthwise of said tubular member and disposed in said passage means and movable lengthwise of said passage means to contact and inoculate successive ones of said exposed surfaces of said culture media; and
(f) closure means connected to and closing said open end of said tubular member.
2. A disposable culturing device according to claim 1 wherein said inoculating member is connected at one end to and is carried by said closure means.
3. A disposable culturing device according to claim 2 wherein said inoculating member is provided with an absorbent swab at its other end.
4. A disposable culturing device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said compartments are separated by bulkheads spaced lengthwise of said tubular member and provided with aligned openings dening said passage means.
5. A disposable culturing device according to claim 1 including a removable rack extending lengthwise of said tubular member and defining said compartments.
6. A disposable culturing device according to claim 1 wherein at least some of said culture media contain different antibacterial agents.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,902,146 9/1959 Doherty 20G-63.2 3,163,160 12/1964 Cohen 128-2 3,205,151 9/1965 Landan et al. 195-103.5
A. LOUIS MONACELL, Primary Examiner.
ALVIN E. TANENHOLTZ, Examiner.