CO2 Incubator

April 24th, 2014 by Acmas Leave a reply »

As it is very well known that incubator maintains optimal temperature, humidity and other conditions such as Carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen content of the atmosphere inside. CO2 incubator controls the CO2 level to 5% and it works on three building blocks

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Temperature
  • Relative Humidity

CO2 incubators are usually set to 37°C. This is the optimal working temperature for promoting healthy cell growth. The external indicators of the incubator do often provide a good sense of the internal environment, but it is often useful to keep a good thermometer inside to keep a record of the internal temperature.

The chambers of CO2 incubators are sometimes incorporated with copper which is used for eliminating the contamination in incubators, as copper breaks down it releases copper oxide which destroy microbes that are present in the chamber.

CO2 incubator may be

  • Water-jacketed; envelopes the unit’s chamber and provides superior insulation while eliminating contamination and cold spots.The water-jacket is also surrounded by insulation, which makes the incubator ideal for maintaining precise conditions.
  • Air-jacketed; an air-jacket CO2 incubator has a heated inner chamber that is controlled by sophisticated microprocessors. These microprocessors constantly monitor and adjust program settings and allow calibrations of CO2 and temperature.

For both types of incubators, the microcomputer controls include backup systems that prevent samples from overheating, plus alarms that monitor the out-of-tolerance conditions.

Maintaining the chamber’s environment (CO2 control)

To maintain the chamber environment for safe and reliable research, CO2 incubators are equipped with precise automated controls. These controllers are of three types.

  • Continuous Flow; provides manual control of the air and CO2 flow rate through the use of precision-bore glass tube flow meters. For this method an accessory air pump is required.
  • Thermal Conductivity (TC)sensor ; more indirect method of CO2 detection and control since it measures the level of CO2 by sensing temperature differences as CO2 is introduced into the chamber.
  • Infrared (IR); This method uses an infrared sensor to detect a change in CO2 concentrations as little as 0.1 %. Since the IR sensor is unaffected by changes in temperature and humidity, it is ideal for applications in which the incubator door is frequently opened, and provides nearly perfect culturing conditions for cell growth. The sensor continuously samples chamber atmosphere through a spectrophotometer flow cell, checking wavelength and instantly correcting an out-of-control condition. Also, CO2 recovery is rapid and changes in CO2 concentration are made within seconds.

Areas of Application

  • Tissue Culture
  • Food and dairy processing
  • Stem cell research
  • Biochemical, bacteriological and hematological studies
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Virological studies

Safety Guidelines

  • Incubator should be located on a solid work surface that should be away from high traffic areas and extreme temperatures (Constant temperature is easier to maintain if the incubator is not in the direct contact of airflow from air conditioners or heat sources.
  • Electrical cord of the incubator should be routinely inspected for any damage (Electrical cord should not be used for cord repair).
  • This thermometer must also be cleaned with 70% alcohol on a regular basis to maintain its integrity.
  • The internal humidity of the incubator is usually maintained, by a tray of water which is kept topped up on a weekly basis. It is essential to always use sterile distilled water to do this.  The tray which holds the water must also be cleaned to prevent the expensive and time-consuming results of contamination by unwanted invaders. The incubator should be cleaned with 70% alcohol between uses and internal removable parts should be autoclaved to achieve full sterilisation.

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