CO2 incubators

What is a CO2 Incubator?

A CO2 incubator is a chamber with temperature, CO2 and humidity control (active or passive). CO2 incubators are mainly developed for the purpose of cell culturing. Cells in culture (for example mammalian) need a good temperature-controlled environment to grow. Also, the conditions of the culture medium have a large impact on the growth of the cells. CO2 concentration in the chamber air has a large impact on the pH of the culture medium, which is an important condition for the growth. Also, humidity is important to prevent moisture loss from the culture medium. 

When do I need oxygen control on my CO2 incubator?

Some cell cultures require anaerobic conditions because they cannot grow in the presence of oxygen. In that case oxygen control is required on the CO2 incubator. This is typically done by injecting nitrogen gas inside the chamber to reduce the O2 concentration.

When do I need active humidity control on my CO2 incubator?

Most CO2 incubators use passive humidity control. This means that there is a tray with water on the bottom of the CO2 incubator to passively humidify the air in the chamber. This is sufficient for most applications. Active humidity control means you have an external water tank and a moisture generator actively generating humidity inside your CO2 incubator. In this case, the humidity concentration in the chamber can be actively controlled. This has 2 advantages over passive humidity control:

  1. Having a heated water source inside your chamber increases the risk of bacterial growth and contamination of your cell culture. Active humidity control eliminates this risk.
  2. Active humidity control will humidify the air quicker back to the required condition after door opening.

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