Incubators are often an important part of labs and medical facilities. Incubators must run properly to ensure that they are doing the proper job intended. To do this their temperature, humidity, and/or CO2 levels must be exact. Here is some information on incubators and how to keep them efficient.
Cell Culture Incubators
The most common job of incubators are to maintain a specific temperature, and while they do their part steps must be taken to ensure they are successful. Avoid opening the door when possible. Take and place multiple items at once, instead of one-by-one, if you are able to.
Incubators are usually kept at 37°C for the best growth of cell cultures. Temperature fluctuation in either direction it could be detrimental and even destroy your cultures. While incubators always include a temperature sensor, these may not always be reliable, especially after time passes. The best way to ensure your incubator is running at the proper temp is the use of a temperature monitoring system.
Some cell cultures also need a specific humidity level maintained. When humidity is too low your cell culture media can evaporate or your growth media may become too concentrated. Always ensure that your moisture source is full. For most cultures proper humidity is around 95%. A temperature monitoring system is essential for maintaining proper humidity as well.
Other incubators use and maintain and monitor CO2 levels. Many times the proper CO2 level is 5%. Proper CO2 levels ensure a constant pH for optimal growth in your cultures. Once again, a temperature monitoring system will help ensure that an incubator’s CO2 levels never rise or fall outside of their intended range, and compromise cultures.
Ensuring Your Incubator Works Properly
We discussed monitoring temperature. While a temperature monitoring system is essential to the success of your incubators, they should be calibrated from time to time as well. For reproducible results, calibration should be carried out at the usual operating temperature. For incubators used in important or sensitive experiments, you should also consider arranging calibration by an external agency on an annual basis.
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