How Do You Maintain a Lab Incubator?
A lab Incubator is an insulated box-like system or set-up used to cultivate and maintain cell cultures in labs. It maintains a set temperature, humidity and gas levels inside the box. Hence, there is no damage to cells due to changes in temperature, humidity or gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide.
As an Aussie, check out the options for an incubator in Australia and find some of the best-rated lab incubators. However, after you buy an excellent lab incubator, you must ensure its proper use and maintenance. Some lab models can be pretty expensive.
Hence, you have to clean and maintain the apparatus regularly. Further, well-maintained incubators go as long as 7-10 years, depending on your usage and care.
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Caring for Your Lab Incubator
Once you get your hands on the finest incubator, keeping it clean might be challenging. Since there are many aspects that need maintenance and monitoring, these four steps will solve your problem.
Location Is Critical
Position your lab incubator in the least contaminated place in your lab. It will provide maximum efficiency. Make sure of the following pointers –
- Stay away from direct doorways, windows or vents that can bring in contaminants.
- Steer clear of direct sunlight. It can cause temperature fluctuations and disrupt cell culture due to anti-condensation.
- Keep at least 2.5-3 inches of space around the unit for heat release and to avoid congestion of wires.
- Use a stand to place your lab incubator for minimum chances of contamination and fungal growth.
- Do not place the system near vibrating objects like refrigerators because shaking can disturb cell growth. They need a stable space for optimum growth.
Temperature Monitoring and Regulation
Generally, lab incubators are set to 37°C for optimal cell culture. If there is any disruption in the temperature, it might stop growth or even kill the cultures. Of course, there are temperature sensors. However, they may go off due to some fault.
Hence, use a second thermometer for utmost safety. If the sensor’s and thermometer’s reading differs, you must recalibrate the sensor. Further, do not keep opening the door when not required to avoid any temperature shift.
Monitor Humidity and CO2 Levels
Cell culture requires a media or liquid nutrient for cellular growth. Further, it requires a specific humidity level of around 95% and carbon dioxide in some instances. If the humidity is too low, the liquid nutrient can evaporate, or it may become too concentrated.
Hence, never let the water tray under the incubator run dry.
Further, for CO2 incubators, keep an eye on the CO2 level. It should typically be at 5%. Use an external gas analyser every few months.
While cleaning, wear gloves to avoid contamination. For general cleaning, disinfection may be sufficient. You can use a disinfectant like quaternary ammonium disinfectant. However, if it is too dirty, go for complete sterilisation.
Moreover, clean all the other parts like the door handle, fan, and wheels every few months. Further, replace any filters every six months to one year to avoid chamber contamination.
The global lab incubator industry is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 4.24% from 2022 to 2027. If you are a scientist or an aspiring researcher on cell growth, you can go through the options available for an incubator in Australia for your lab incubator needs. There are high chances for some of the best lab incubators to make their way into your hands.
While buying one can be pretty easy with recommendations and guidance, maintaining is more arduous. Follow the above pointers regularly to keep your incubator running smoothly. Further, it’s best to check the temperature yearly with a NIST-certified thermometer.
Moreover, you can hire a professional to fumigate the incubators annually to ensure 100% efficiency.