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CO2 Incubators

CO2 Incubator Considerations

Our CO2 incubators offer a range of options in terms of dimensions, temperature control, contamination control, CO2 sensors, RH control and microprocessor control features. Here is an overview of what you should consider:  

D.A.I. offers 4 series of CO2 incubators: 

  • Cell-IQ™ Series: This is by far the most popular PHCbi incubator we sell. The CO2 incubator design with a touchscreen panel is easy to use and makes cleaning and maintenance practically effortless. You can expect outstanding performance with multi-level contamination control with the SafeCell™ UV as a standard feature and time-saving optional H2O2 vapor decontamination.
  • Cell-IQ with High Heat Sterilization: This Cell-IQ model has all the features and sophistication as the model above — except that it has an integrated auxiliary sterilization system instead of H2O2 decontamination. Used together with the incubator cultivation heaters, this model provides an effective, energy-efficient high heat sterilization process. Melamine foam insulation minimizes heat leakage to adjacent incubators and dramatically reduces elevated external surface temperatures.
  • CytoGrow Series: The CytoGrow CO2 incubator from PHCbi is a price sensitive model that includes strategic upgrades designed to improve performance, contamination control and user interface for establishing and maintaining a safe in vitro cell culture environment. This model is less expensive than the Cell-IQ because it comes with the TCD sensor for CO2, and the UV light is an option. It also features a less expensive controller and does not have a color touchscreen.
  • ReCO2ver Series: As a leader in biosafety cabinets and laminar flow hoods, Baker Company continually delivers optimal “environments of science” — and their CO2 incubators are no exception. These units provide precision control over the environmental conditions your cells require to thrive, such as temperature, CO2 and RH, while simultaneously restoring your units to those conditions when the incubator door has opened.
  • Capacity: Our benchtop models range from 1.7 to 8.1 cubic feet. We also have floor models with a capacity of 30 to 58 cubic feet.
  • Microprocessor controls: All our incubators come with precise microprocessor controls, including audible and visual alarms.
  • CO2 sensors: Our incubators feature two different types of CO2 sensors — the time-tested thermal conductivity detector (TCD) and the more popular, faster recovery infrared sensor.

    A TCD sensor relies on temperature and humidity levels to properly read CO2. Opening the incubator door affects temperature and humidity levels, which means it could take at least a half hour (or more) for the temperature and humidity levels to stabilize. Incubators with a TCD sensor might be sufficient for long-term storage of cultures, but they’re less suitable for situations where door openings are frequent.

    Infrared sensors rely on the fact that CO2, like other gasses, absorb a specific wavelength of light — 4.3 μm to be precise.The sensor can detect how much CO2 is in the atmosphere by measuring how much 4.3 μm light passes through it.

    The big difference is that the amount of light detected is not dependent on any other factors, such as temperature and humidity, as is the case with the thermal conductivity detector. A busier lab would benefit from a CO2 incubator with an IR sensor.

  • RH control: All our CO2 incubators provide humidification. If relative humidity levels are critical to your work, consider the Baker ReCO2ver Series since it controls those levels.
  • Contamination control: Contamination is a concern for anyone using incubators. We have a large selection of passive and active contamination control features. The copper alloy stainless steel interior on the PHCbi InCu-saFe is an example of a passive contamination control feature. This offers germicidal properties of elemental copper without the corrosion or discoloration. Examples of active contamination control features include direct heat, H2O2 decontamination and internal UV light.
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What is a CO2 incubator?
A CO2 incubator is a piece of lab equipment that provides an atmosphere with a constant temperature; it also controls CO2 levels and high humidity. These units are used in life science laboratories to grow biological cell cultures.
What is the difference between an incubator and CO2 incubator?
A microbiological incubator is one that solely controls temperature. A CO2 incubator uses CO2 to control the pH of the cultures and has high humidity levels in the chamber.
Do CO2 incubators need water?
Yes. Most incubators have a water pan in the bottom of the chamber. Some units might have an external reservoir from which water is automatically pumped into the chamber.
Can you stack CO2 incubators?
Yes, but we always recommend obtaining a stacking kit from the incubator manufacturer to ensure the units are secured properly. When stacking two incubators, it’s also important to consider a roller base so that you can easily move the units.
Do I have to buy a CO2 regulator from the manufacturer?
Not necessarily, but the regulator from the manufacturer comes with the right hose barb fittings and proper gauges to read the PSI of the tank. If you decide to purchase one from a different source, make sure it is a "dual gauge" regulator that comes with the correct hose barb sizes you need.
Do you have any way of controlling contamination?
Yes, there are several options to consider. These range from a passive copper-alloy stainless steel built into the chamber to an active method like UV lights, H2O2 decontamination and high heat systems.
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