Incubators that use CO2 provide the optimal conditions for microorganisms to thrive and survive. Devices like this are widely used by research organisations, pathological laboratories and dairy industries. They also perform routinely tissue cultures and molecular biological experiments. They are fitted with HEPA filters that maintain a sterile atmosphere and sensors to monitor any slight fluctuations in the temperature, humidity or oxygen and CO2 levels. In more sophisticated CO2 incubators, refrigeration may be provided to ensure that cell lines requiring lower temperature incubation are maintained. Find out how to choose the best co2 monitor in this site.
There are some major disadvantages.
In a CO2 incubator, the main issues are maintaining a sterile air within the chamber and the prevention of desiccation. Another problem is the heat loss caused by frequent openings and closings of the incubator. Incubators that use modern technology are better equipped to maintain optimum conditions and prevent such temperature fluctuations.
Temperature control is essential
Two types of CO2 incubators are available: water jacketed and air-jacketed. Air jacketed incubators use air, but water-jacketed incubators use either water or air to cool and heat. Air jacketed incubators are more popular, but water-coated ones have less temperature fluctuation. In contrast, air-jacketed incubators help to quickly reach the desired temperature, thus reducing the impact of temperature changes.
Prevention of contamination and dehydration
The copper-lined surfaces, fixtures and metallic surfaces of the incubator discourage unwanted microbial development, whether on the surface or in the concealed crevices. In the more modern models, CO2 incubators use a hydrogen peroxide or UV sterilization to maintain sterility. For contamination prevention, increasing the airflow via HEPA filters is also an option. This will, however, tend to dehydrate the cells that grow better at 95% humidity relative. Even though advanced humidity sensors can help to some degree, the issue remains of major concern for researchers and manufacturers.
Alarm backup system
In the most recent models, the advanced technology couples an alarm and backup system to different sensors within a CO2 incubator. It initiates the back-up as soon as the parameter drifts out of range. The equipment is more suitable for certain experiments like tissue culture, which are conducted under stricter conditions.
The HCO3 produced by CO2 in interaction with water serves as a buffer to protect the cells. Some CO2 incubators may use infrared detection to detect fluctuations in levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen. The majority of CO2 incubators can maintain a CO2 concentration around 5% which provides a buffering system that is optimal for cells incubated.