In a laboratory incubator, cells, bacteria, and other microorganisms are grown in a controlled environment that mimics their ideal environment.
Incubators have become a necessary component of any laboratory that requires cell growth. These machines maintain the proper temperature and nutrition for cells, tissues, and other microorganisms, allowing them to grow and be used in various experiments by scientists.
The primary function of any incubator is to provide an in-vitro environment for cell culture while also preserving these cultured cells for future experimentation. However, not all models are created equal. The mechanism and functions of different lab incubator models vary.
Here are the different types of laboratory incubators:
These stand-alone incubators are frequently used for cell culture, which does not require any type of restricted or special environment for culturing.
These incubators can operate at temperatures ranging from room temperature to 80°C or 100°C. As a result, standard incubators only provide heated environments. It can be used for a variety of purposes, such as cell culture in general. Gravity-powered convection is available in some models.
Many models have a fan to power the convection system and keep the temperature stable. The majority of standard incubators have alarms, glass panel doors, and a display screen. It is also one of the most commonly used incubators.
Cooled Or Refrigerated Incubators
These incubators are specially designed with a temperature range close to that of the surrounding environment. These are also referred to as refrigerated incubators. Temperatures in school incubators typically range from 5°C to 60°C.
Cooled incubators provide precise temperature control and are equipped with various sensors that accurately monitor the temperature. These incubators include air circulation fans that provide fresh air inside the incubation chamber while also assisting in temperature regulation.
These laboratory incubators are common in biology and microbiology labs. In labs that study cells, bacteria, plants, cell culture, insect studies, and so on, you may notice cooled incubators.
Carbon dioxide incubators are most commonly found in biology and microbiology labs. It’s also common in the pharmaceutical industry. These incubators have a unique mechanism that allows the user to keep the carbon-di-oxide level inside the incubation chamber constant. In the case of healthy in vitro cell culture, this is required.
A certain amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is required for any normal living organism to function properly. This incubator adheres to this straightforward procedure and maintains the desired carbon dioxide level in the incubation atmosphere. In most cases, a thermal conductivity sensor or an infrared sensor is used to keep the carbon dioxide level within the chamber constant.
Furthermore, the humidity level in these incubators must be kept constant. To maintain the humidity level, a water tray is placed inside. These incubators simulate the conditions found in the human body. However, because these incubators have a unique environment, they are vulnerable to virus, fungus, and bacteria attacks.
Temperature and humidity are both critical in certain cultural processes. To grow properly, the cultured cells require a specific percentage of humidity within the incubation chamber.
These incubators are specifically designed to regulate humidity and temperature at the same time. In order to maintain the special atmosphere within the chamber, a humidity incubator uses indirect heating.
It’s a cross between an incubator and a shaking instrument, and it’s also known as an incubator shaker. It’s a common tool in molecular biology and genetics. These incubator shakers or shaking incubators have a controlled environment with precise temperature, humidity, and other parameters.
It constantly shapes and centrifuges different samples together in order for the molecules to mix and form something new. It comes in handy when it comes to genetics.
Shaking incubators have been superseded by hybridization incubators or hybridization ovens. Hybridization takes place in these incubators. As a result, it’s a must-have piece of equipment in any molecular biology lab.
Inside these incubators are hybridization bottles that have been specially designed. These bottles are rotated at a specific speed to allow the molecules to bind together.
These are miniaturized versions of regular incubators. These are small incubators with the same capabilities as larger machines. These are models that are inexpensive. In the poultry industry, mini incubators are very common.
These are the various types of incubators used in various types of laboratories for cell culture and other related tasks.