An incubator is a device that allows bacteria to grow in a laboratory, an incubator is an insulated box or instrument used to develop and maintain microbiological or cell cultures.
In order to culture microorganisms under artificial circumstances, an incubator is a must-have piece of equipment and if you are planning to own one, make sure to get incubators for sale from a reputable supplier or manufacturer. Inside the box, it maintains the ideal temperature, humidity, and gaseous conditions. The incubator protects from changes in temperature, carbon dioxide (CO2), oxygen (O2), and humidity in the atmosphere. Water or air jackets keep an eye on the temperature inside the incubator.
Working Principle of incubator
An incubator operates on the principle of thermoelectricity, with a thermostat that creates a thermal gradient wall to keep a constant temperature. When we turn on the electricity, the incubator is set to a fixed temperature (37°C). The key components for maintaining this temperature in the incubator are a temperature controller, a temperature sensor, and a temperature contractor. When the electricity goes off, the contractor powers up the bulbs, which operate as a heating source and keep the temperature at 37 degrees Celsius.
Steps to be taken to maintain an incubator
Place Incubator properly in Laboratory
The incubator’s effectiveness and safety are ensured by its proper placement. In most cases, an incubator should be kept in a tidy, clean, covered, and temperature-controlled environment.
- Avoid areas near doors or vents where debris can be removed, increasing the risk of fungus development.
- Avoid direct sunlight because it can induce temperature changes.
- A minimum of 3 to 5 cm of space should be available around the unit for heat exhaust and access to connections and connectors.
- Always remember to utilise a stand. When the door is opened, placing the incubator directly on the floor increases the risk of contamination.
- Because it affects cell growth, keep it away from sources of vibration like shakers and stirrers.
- Make sure the space around the device is clean, as dampness might lead to increased fungal development.
Monitor the incubator temperature regularly
The temperature in incubators should be kept at 37°C for optimal cell culture development. Temperature variations or increases can stifle growth or even kill cultures. Although temperature sensors are integrated in the units, a second thermometer is required to assure accurate temperature readings. The second thermometer can be placed inside the incubator’s glass door. You can now take note of the temperature from both sources and compare the readings for accuracy.
Monitor Humidity and Co2 Level
For optimum cell growth, a certain humidity and CO2 level are also required, in addition to a constant temperature. Tissues and cells, as we all know, are extremely sensitive to temperature changes. As a result, the temperature should be maintained at all times. In general, a humidity level of 95 percent is ideal for an incubator. You must check the water tray under the incubator on a frequent basis to preserve humidity. It should never be dry, so check it frequently.
Clean Incubator Regularly
Microbes can enter the sample by the movement of air in the chamber or contamination on the chamber’s surface, hence hygiene is a major consideration for Incubators. The important steps are as follows:
- On a regular basis, clean the water tray, shelves, chambers, and any other parts.
- If disinfection or sterilisation is necessary, keep in mind that it should not harm your cell cultures.
- At least once a week, change the water in the humidity pan.
Remember to clean the fan and fan wheels, as well as the outside of the unit, particularly the door and handle.