Academy of Athens – Biomedical Research Foundation
Head of Laboratory Animal Facilities
Having used Optimice for more than eight years, I can say that the system has a lot of advantages.
The Optimice system could be considered as a combination between filter top and individually ventilated cages. It guarantees protection from allergens, it works under negative pressure, and provides a level of safety for the animals housed in the cages (supply air is filtered). As the exhaust pipes of the system are connected directly to the HVAC system of the building, there is a reduction of bad smells inside the room. Additionally, there is no need to buy extra air supplier equipment. This results in lower purchase costs compared to IVC. Maintenance costs are also kept low as there are no expensive mechanical equipment to be replaced. Absolutely necessary condition is that the central HVAC system of the building must work properly 24/7 (like power for IVC).
Low airflow 25 ACH means that the caged animals are less disturbed from the air and from any other cibrations which may be created from ventilation systems.
In addition to the Optimice system, we had the opportunity to work (and we are still working) with the Blockparty system. Blockparty is probably the best equipment for preference studies. We used it a lot to make preference studies, mainly for bedding. Another advantage is that you can easily increase the available space of the cage, according to the protocol needs. Blockparty could be also considered enriched environment for animals.
I have to underline that the quality of the plastic material (polysulfone) used for both Optimice and Blockparty is excellent. For more than five years, we didn’t have any broken bottles or cages or any bottles or cages with white spots, no matter how many times we washed and autoclaved them.
In conclusion and based on our experience, we believe that Optimice and Blockparty is a good buy (value for money). Nevertheless, future buyers have to keep in mind that the final decision also should be taken according to the research needs, which vary among animal facilities and the available budgets.