WHAT IS A CO2 INCUBATOR?
CO2 incubator is an incubator which creates a natural cell growing atmosphere. The three most important criteria for cell growth are temperature, humidity, and CO2.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF CO2 INCUBATORS?
CO2 incubators can be classified in two ways – by their heating principles and by the airflow. Depending on heating principles there are two main types of CO2 incubators:
- Water Jacket Incubators – the temperature inside the chamber depends on heated water within incubator walls. It gives the best temperature uniformity and stability but takes a lot of time to reach desire temperature. This type of CO2 incubator is very heavy and more expensive.
- Air Jacket Incubators - because the walls of incubators are surrounded by heating elements, rather than water, Air Jacketed incubators are lightweight and quicker to set up. The higher sterilization temperature could be reached so the sterilization process takes less time.
Depending on airflow there are two types of CO2 incubators:
- Forced Air Incubator - it's easier to keep required temperature stability and uniformity in the chamber while using a fan, but if HEPA filters are not replaced regularly, it can be a source of contamination. Also you would have more expenses on spare parts that have to be replaced regularly.
- Natural Air Incubator – proper materials and technology, temperature uniformity and stability can be similar to forced airflow, with no hidden spaces, so it is easier and quicker to clean the chamber. Also, there is no air turbulences which can lead to contamination. Only hot air sterilization could be used in this type of incubator.
It is very important to avoid contamination while growing cells in-vitro. Sterilization readily eliminates the vegetative microorganisms, as well as persistent fungal spores, of concern in cell culture laboratories.
WHAT ARE TYPES OF STERILIZATION IN CO2 INCUBATORS?
There are several methods of sterilization used in CO2 incubators.
- H2O2 vapour - although it is fastest available sterilization method and kills mycoplasma, it is also has a lot of cons – toxic, dangerous, incubator should be equipped with vapour generator.
- UV sterilization – it can’t be used as primary source of sterilization, but it increases H2O2 sterilization efficiency.
- Dry heat – there could be used 140℃ or 180℃ dry heat sterilization. This method is longer than H2O2 sterilization. But it is effective, since high temperature dry heat causes cell death through denaturing of all proteins, destruction of nucleic acids, and desiccation.
WHAT ARE CO2 INCUBATORS USED FOR?
CO2 incubators are used to grow biological or cell cultures. Usually, it is used for stem lines incubation (embryonic, adult stem cells etc.), in-vitro fertilization (for embryo to grow). The cells lines which are grown in CO2 incubator we used for antibody, vaccine production, drug testing, artificial tissues generation and in other pharmaceutical and medical research areas.
HOW DO CO2 INCUBATORS WORK?
There are 3 major parameters for cell growth – temperature, humidity, and CO2. For cultured cells to stay healthy and grow, the incubator's temperature must be kept constant. Depending on incubator type – temperature inside the chamber could be maintained by heated water inside the incubator walls or heating elements. Another element – humidity. Cultures are lost as a result of desiccation. To keep cultures from drying out, it's critical to keep the chamber adequately moist. Most small to mid-sized CO2 incubators use humidity pans to create humidity through evaporation, while large CO2 incubators may use steam-generators or atomizers to control relative humidity levels. Last one but not least – CO2. It is added in incubator at a present amount. CO2 is not a metabolic requirement for cell cultures. The goal of CO2 is to dissolve into the cell culture medium where a small portion of it reacts with water to form carbonic acid, which interacts with its conjugate base (the dissolved bicarbonate ions in the medium) to control a stable physiological pH through the bicarbonate buffering system.
WHY IS CO2 USED IN INCUBATORS?
The goal of CO2 is to dissolve into the cell culture medium where a small portion of it reacts with water to form carbonic acid, which interacts with its conjugate base (the dissolved bicarbonate ions in the medium) to control a stable physiological pH through the bicarbonate buffering system.