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Milking Machine for Mice
Building a milking machine for mice is a task that took a lot of patience and a strong microscope.
According to a report in the New Zealand Farmer, scientists at West Germany's University of Ulm need mouse milk for research on a regular basis. Since there is no reliable supply available, they had to find their own source. Their research involves making comparisons of mouse milk with human breast milk.
Dr. Guenther Sawatzki, biology graduate student Franz Hoffmann and engineer Herbert Schmitt of the University designed and built the mouse-milking machine.
A small vacuum pump does the milking via miniature tubes and equally small cups, using the same principles as a conventional dairy milking machine. Milk is collected in a plexiglass cylinder 1/3 in. in dia. and 1? in. long. .
The mice are milked once a day and each mouse produces about 1.5 ml during the 15 min. the cups are on. The mice are anesthetized and lie flat on their backs during milking.
The mouse milking machine has also been used successfuly with rats and may be used with other small mammals in the future.

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #5