How CO2 incubators help to avoid contamination

Contamination is a common problem when working with cell cultures, which occurs worldwide and causes enormous financial losses.

The CO2 incubator plays a key role in avoiding contamination, because it provides optimal growth conditions not only for cell cultures but also for various unwanted microbes. CO2 incubators should therefore be designed in such a way that contamination is avoided.  

Contamination - risk for cell cultures

Microbial contaminations as caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses represent a major risk in cell culturing. Since contaminations do not necessarily overgrow the cultivated cells they may remain undetected for a long time. More subtle effects such as the deprivation of essential nutrients and the excretion of microbial metabolites may cause a pH shift which eventually compromises cell proliferation. Most dreaded mycoplasma infections may alter host cell morphology or even cause chromosomal aberrations. In extreme cases, a single germ may turn the research work of weeks or months worthless.

There are countless paths for the introduction of contaminations: the use of cell lines, media, serum, or other reagents with undetected contaminations, airborne spores or improperly disinfected lab equipment, or accidentally introduced contamination by lab technicians. Since proof for the absence of germs involves complicated and tedious procedures, measures for contamination control must be established.

Considering the significant progress in the area of sensitive cell culture applications, such as tissue engineering and regenerative cell and tissue therapy, the hygiene requirements for CO2 incubators have risen. Highest standards are thus applied to the perfection and reliability of the entire process chain with the CO2 incubator playing a key role.
The units that BINDER has developed meet these strict requirements: Our CO2 incubators set themselves apart with their ease of use, effortless cleaning, and pioneering BINDER anti-contamination concept.

CO2 incubators with anti-contamination concept

BINDER's CO2 incubators provide ideal, reproducible growth conditions for cell cultures and reduce the risk of contamination to a minimum: The 180°C hot air sterilization reliably kills bacteria and spores, effectively performing a biological reset when each individual trial series is introduced. 
Interior conditions have to remain clean while cell cultivation is taking place. The deep-drawn, seamless, stainless steel inner chamber and the rounded corners in the interior ensure that the BINDER CO2 incubators are easy to clean. The rounded flanges that serve as a shelf support system mean that there are no corners where hidden contamination could accumulate.

Fixtures such as fans, air baffle plates, and filters have been omitted deliberately from BINDER's CO2 incubators – because less is more. Since there are no fans inside the incubator, bacteria cannot spread in the air and contamination of the cell cultures is prevented.

Moisture limitation, which prevents contamination even when levels of moisture in the air are high, is another important component of the anti-contamination concept. The coldest point inside the incubator, known as the cold spot, is located in the water pan on the base of the chamber. Excess moisture can condense here without settling elsewhere in the interior. This keeps the interior walls dry and prevents mold from forming.

CO2 incubators can make a significant contribution to avoiding contamination during cell cultivation. BINDER has developed a rigorous concept with units that guarantee to offer cell cultures the best conditions for growth while minimizing the risk of contamination.   
Alongside the CO2 incubators themselves, the laboratory environment plays an important role in managing contamination.

Our infographic shows how CO2 incubators and the correct setup inside the laboratory can help you to improve contamination management.

Infographic “Improve your contamination management”