Hans-Peter Popp (Tecniplast Germany, member of AK KAB and coordinator of AK KAB experts group for Fish Tank Processing) has recently presented “Overview of AK KAB and next target Recommendations and Guidelines for cleaning aquatic housing systems” during the 11th European Zebrafish Meeting.
Can you briefly tell us what AK KAB is and how it is related to the cage processing in animal facilities?
AK KAB was formed in 2005 by stakeholders in the operation of life science facilities, at that point in time primarily focusing on rodents. The AK-KAB have made it their aim to provide a guideline for planning, procuring, and operating processing systems and single processing components, and thus wish to address planners, manufacturers, and operators alike. Stakeholders are veterinarians and facility managers from research facilities, external consultants as well as producers of chemicals, cleaning systems and autoclaves. The “rodent” brochure was constantly updated and today you can have a look at the 6th edition published in 2020. Over time AK KAB received many requests to also cover aquatic facilities which are an important part of current and future research projects. So, in 2018 AK KAB formed the working group to focus on cleaning of fish tanks. I’m honoured to be selected as the working group coordinator a group of aquatic husbandry experts from e.g. MPI Martinsried, KIT Karlsruhe and TUM Munich. We made considerable progress proudly roll-out our first edition at European Zebrafish Meeting 2020.
Why is it becoming so important in the evaluation of products?
Customers are making a major investment in hardware in a cleaning centre and it is essential to have a clear picture about performance of the equipment you are going to spend your money on. AK KAB recommends objective processes and technical concepts that reflect the specific need of L/S applications and in the end guaranteeing the future user that his requirements for cleaning and decontamination are met right from the start of the tender / acquisition process.
Do all products on the market fulfil the recommendation of AK KAB? Would you give more importance to such product or to a less expensive one?
Of course, AK KAB recommendations are to be considered when it comes to prove the effectiveness of the equipment itself. As it also comes at a costs to the producer of the equipment this ensures that the AK KAB recommendations are taken seriously. So any serious player in the L/S market should have products designed and tested according to AK KAB.
Can you tell us the added value of products designed according to AK KAB vs product not considering AK KAB?
Basically, the user is free to use any equipment he deems suitable to do the job. In today´s world where public expenditure and sustainable operation are under scrutiny from the public it is extremely important to make the right selection in first place. Imagine the outcry if a modern research facility cannot operate because fish tanks can't be cleaned at the required capacity or because of equipment downtime.
So clearly an objective and neutral recommendation free from specific manufacturers standards helps a lot, not only the user but all involved in the planning process. To bring this to the next level tests during a FAT or SAT before commissioning the equipment should also be option offered by serious equipment providers.
FLORIAN KELLNER-FENDT - MANAGING DIRECTOR AT TECNIPLAST GERMANY AND CHAIRMAN OF AK KAB