In science and technology, the concept of incubation is a basic one. Whether you’re talking about bacteria, embryos, plants, or antibodies, the idea is to create and maintain optimal conditions to help them grow in a controlled environment. In a lab, incubators foster the growth of microbial cultures and other biological samples by maintaining regulated temperature and humidity conditions. This is done to ensure accurate laboratory results and findings.
A refrigerator is an excellent place to start if you want to incubate microbes. This is because a refrigerated incubator produces a range of temperatures suitable for most laboratory experiments. But if you’re going to incubate a particular organism, you might need something warmer, such as a heated incubator. Heated incubators offer a temperature range from five to eight degrees above room temperature. Refrigerated incubators, on the other hand, offer a temperature range from zero degrees Celsius below ambient to sixty degrees Celsius. They are typically used for crystallography, growing plants, and raising insects.
Refrigerators and freezers are temperature-controlled devices that help preserve food by maintaining it at a lower temperature than its original, which inhibits the growth of bacteria and other microbes. This also extends the shelf life of the product. Bacteria and other microbes grow at different temperatures, and the optimal growth temperature depends on the species being incubated. For example, the human body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius is optimal for most bacteria, while budding yeasts grow best at a slightly lower temperature. Cooling incubators are refrigeration systems that allow for the incubation of culture media at temperatures below the ambient temperature. A science incubator heating and cooling controls should be appropriately balanced to achieve an optimum environment for microbial growth. Incubators are critical in many clinical laboratories and labs where microbial or cell cultures, tissues, biochemical studies, biohazard analysis, laboratory analyses, and pharmaceutical processes are carried out. In addition to maintaining the specific parameters of temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels for optimal culture growth, some incubators include a shaker or aeration device that continuously shakes the culture for cell aeration and solubility studies.
Incubators control the temperature, humidity, and other environmental conditions of a chamber that contains cultured microbes or cells. They are essential equipment for laboratories that must perform research and teach microbiology, cell biology, molecular biology, and other fields. In addition to regulating temperature, incubators can also control the humidity or gas composition within a chamber. This is done by either a compressor or thermoelectric/Peltier device. Incubators that can control humidity will typically provide a lower humidity than refrigerators, which use refrigerants to cool the air. They can also offer greater flexibility regarding how quickly they can regulate the temperature.
Most refrigerators and science incubators include a ventilation system to maintain an even temperature. This is vital to the growth of microorganisms, as deviations in temperature can cause growth inhibition or even destroy cultures. A thermometer is installed on most incubators’ top of the cabinet’s exterior wall. One end of the thermometer has a mercury bulb inside, while gradations on the other indicate the temperature. Some advanced incubators are also provided with HEPA filters that lower contamination created by airflow. An air pump is connected to this filter system and circulates the air inside the chamber. Cooled incubators are used in various applications, including food biology, agriculture, and environmental science, for soil germination or determining the biochemical oxygen demand. They are also used in cell cultures to grow and assess bacterial growth.