The laboratory incubators, also called microbiological incubators are applied in research and industry in a broad range of uses with living organisms. Micro-organisms and cell cultures must be incubated in a strictly controlled settings. In the standard laboratory incubator, the temperature is controlled to that extent, moreover in CO2 incubator the carbon dioxide content is controlled along with humidity and in certain cases, the nitrogen and oxygen content are also controlled by the laboratory incubators.
Following are some of applications examples of the laboratory incubators:
- For the growth of cell cultures
- Reproduction of the germ colonies with the subsequent count in food industry
- Reproduction of the germ colonies and subsequent calculation of biochemical oxygen demand (also called wastewater monitoring)
- Micro-organism reproduction like fungi, yeast, bacteria or viruses
- Insect breeding and eggs hatching in zoology
- Sample storage in a controlled atmosphere
- Growth of protein crystals and others
The requirements to be fulfilled for incubators
The first and foremost requirement is temperature stability and homogeneity. Living organisms usually react quite sensitively as per changes in temperature. In order to make sure reproducible test outcomes, the temperature stability and homogeneity are critical quality criteria for the incubator, even with no operation of a fan. The nutritional media on which the cultures are produced must not be dried out under any situation, or else there is a danger that test outcomes would be corrupted or the cultures would die out completely. Appliances having natural convection are thus optimal, since the process of drying is not accelerates, as opposed to appliances having forced circulation of air.
Hygiene is the biggest priority while working in laboratory incubators where germs might enter the samples via air flow in the chamber and impurities on its surfaces. Therefore, the chambers must be developed smooth with o sharp fittings or corners.