The lab incubator is a crucial equipment in all modern labs. In order to receive continued reliable results from your incubator, it is essential that you maintain your refrigerated incubator properly. Also, it is worthwhile to remember that refrigerated incubators can get quite expensive, and hence, you will not want to replace it too often. In this small article, you will learn about some crucial ways by which you may maintain your refrigerated incubator.
1. Keep your unit in a proper manner
It is crucial that you position the incubator correctly so that it may run efficiently and is not exposed to any contaminants. There are some factors that you must consider when you want to decide on the best spot to keep your lab incubator. These factors include:
a) Doorways along with vents need to blow the contaminants in and this will increase the probability of fungal growth. In addition to this, they will create drafts that may affect the stability of the temperature in the unit.
b) Direct exposure to sunlight will result in causing temperature fluctuations. This will cause problems with the anti-condensation features.
c) You would require a minimum of three inches beside the unit in order to access the vent and sockets easily.
d) You must place the incubators on a stand so that contaminants do not set in when you are sweeping the floor and the door is ajar.
e) Do not put the incubator in areas that are humid or damp because they may have fungal growth there.
f) Keep your incubators away from places where there can be vibration like devices such as shakers, stirrers, and so on. The reason for this is that vibrations can greatly affect cell growth.
The ideal condition of your refrigerated incubator is a spot that is temperature-controlled and is cleaned regularly. A cleanroom would have been best, but it is not possible to get a cleanroom for practical purposes, so you must ensure that the above factors are considered.
Monitor the temperature
The lab incubators should be maintained at about 37 degrees C in order to ensure the best growth in cell cultures. The deviations of the temperature will go on to inhibit the growth and even destroy the cell cultures. The sensors of the temperatures will be included in the unit, but you need to also use a second alternative way to monitor the temperature by using a thermometer. In case, your incubator has got glass doors then you may attach a calibrated thermometer on the insides of the glass. You will be able to read it from the outside of the door. You may check the temperature reading from the thermometer with the sensor and in case you see a difference, then you will know that the sensor needs recalibration. You need to avoid the opening or closing of the doors unnecessarily as it will hamper the stability of the temperature. In case you are concerned with the incubator door being opened then you should opt for units that have door locks.
Monitor the Humidity and Carbon Dioxide
In order to provide the best conditions for cell growth, you will have to control the humidity inside the incubator. You will also have to monitor the CO2 inside. The optimal conditions for the growth of cell cultures have specific levels of humidity and Co2. Cells can be quite sensitive to any deviations in these factors. Hence, you need to keep a close watch on them. In the event that the humidity is low then you will risk the evaporation of the cell culture’s media. It can also make the media become more concentrated. The best humidity level is 95 percent and you must try to maintain this level. You should ensure that the incubator’s water tray does not get dry. In order to maintain the CO2 level, ensure that the levels are at 5 percent and the pH levels are constant. You may also keep CO2 sensors for this purpose.
General Cleaning Strategies
You need to follow these techniques to ensure a general clean working environment in and around your incubator. You must place the removable incubator parts separately in dry heat ovens and autoclave them. You must also use anti-fungal sprays to stop any form of fungal growth. You should use more autoclaved water in your water bath. Consider putting copper sulfate and other forms of germicide like sorbic acid, glycerol in the water. In case you have UV lamps then you should place the container under it.
It is important to maintain a refrigerated incubator in the proper manner if you want to ensure that it works properly for a long period of time. The information mentioned in this article will act as a guide for the same. You can consider hiring professionals to clean your incubator at regular intervals also.