A variety of environmental factors can affect the outcomes of studies using laboratory rodents. One such factor is bedding. Several new bedding materials and processing methods have been introduced to the market in recent years, but there are few reports of their performance. In the studies reported here, we have assessed the cage micro-environment (in-cage ammonia levels, temperature, and humidity) of mice housed on various kinds of bedding and their combinations. We also compared results for bedding supplied as Nestpaks versus loose bedding. We studied C57BL/6J mice (commonly used) and NOD/LtJ mice (heavy soilers) that were maintained, except in one study, in static duplex cages. In general, we observed little effect of bedding type on in-cage temperature or humidity; however, there was considerable variation in ammonia concentrations. The lowest ammonia concentrations occurred in cages housing mice on hardwood bedding or a mixture of corncob and alpha cellulose. In one experiment comparing the micro-environments of NOD/LtJ male mice housed on woodpulp fiber bedding in static versus ventilated caging, we showed a statistically significant decrease in ammonia concentrations in ventilated cages. Therefore, our data show that bedding type affects the micro-environment in static cages and that effects may differ for ventilated cages, which are being used in vivaria with increasing frequency.
Additional publication details
Evaluation of cage micro-environment of mice housed on various types of bedding materials