In the course of some studies of the effects of injury and infection on the metabolism of ascorbic acid, it became important for us to know how the microorganisms present in ordinary healthy laboratory animals influence the metabolism of this vitamin. To this end, we followed the responses of germ-free and purposely contaminated guinea pigs to a scorbutigenic diet.
Walter Reed Strain* guinea pigs were used. Pregnant animals (anesthetized with pentobarbital sodium) were delivered aseptically at term by cesarean section using a special Reyniers Germ-free Operating Unit.1 The newborn guinea pigs were transferred immediately following birth into sterile Reyniers Series 400 Rearing Units. These stainless steel tanks may be maintained under germ-free conditions for periods of one or more years. Air is sterilized by passage through fiber glass filters. Food, water and other supplies are generally sterilized by steam under pressure and entered into the germ-free chamber