Importance of CO2 Safety in Incubation Industries

The earliest incubators were "developed" more than a thousand years ago in China to keep chicken eggs warm. Advances in science abounded between then and the 1960's when modern, CO2 incubators were developed. But the science of CO2 in incubation has stayed fairly constant since then.

Standard incubation equipment provides technicians the ability to grow and study cultures because they can optimize temperature and humidity conditions for cell growth and maintain proper development. The inclusion of carbon dioxide (CO2) has only advanced the science. 

Advances in in vitro fertilization (IVF) have expanded the demand for incubation equipment and services in the last 20 years. This dramatic growth in the market has also meant that incubator designers and manufacturers can use advanced technologies to create innovative new products and solutions for this growing customer demand.

The use of CO2 in incubators has also driven demand for quality, certified gases for these laboratories and clinics. And with gases comes the need to monitor.

CO2 Benefits in Incubation

Lets talk about the benefits of carbon dioxide in incubation applications.

Carbon dioxide is used in incubators to maintain the pH in the cell cultures.  Combined with maintaining consistent temperature and humidity levels the CO2 is typically kept between 3-7% depending on the application and culture.

Labs and clinics are constantly monitoring and adjusting their desired levels in incubators to ensure accuracy and to insure extremely tight tolerances and specifications. Constant or occasional double checks of readings is an important portion of quality and tolerance controls.

But how do you check that your incubators are maintaining appropriate CO2 levels?

Importance of CO2 Monitoring

While many incubators have built-in CO2 monitoring in the design of the systems, third party verification is an important element in the accuracy of incubators.  CO2Meters CO2 Sampling Data Loggers are designed for this express purpose.

When dealing with overall pH levels of the cells, carbon dioxide levels must be measured and monitored daily to ensure the stability of the cell cultures.

The most commonly used devices among our cell biologists, embryologists, lab technicians, and pharmaceutical clients is the Incubator IR CO2 Sensor.

 

The (MH-100) Incubator IR CO2 Sensor is designed specifically to monitor and detect carbon dioxide levels in cell incubators to manage ideal cell and tissue growth. The CO2 sensor can also be placed directly in the incubation chamber to measure the exact cell experienced environment, without having to remove the sensor during high temperature sterilization cycles. 

 

In addition, CO2Meter also offers a portable, battery-powered sampling data logger for scientific and medical applications. This device, called the (CM-1000) Multi Gas Sampling Data Logger, is designed to simultaneously measure multiple gas concentrations through a sampling method. Utilizing a micro pump, the device will draw samples in to the sensing chambers allowing each sensor to take a fast and accurate measurement of the sample.

The Multi Gas Sampling Data Logger integrates into a wide range of industries including incubation due to its ability to measure a variety of gas concentrations such as CO2, CO, O2, CH4, RH, AMB, DP, and ALTI.

Aside from just measurement capabilities, the CM-1000 features a large LCD display, audible alarms, data logging capabilities and the customization for any 20mm EC sensor to be added. 

Additional Gas Monitoring

These laboratories and clinics are obviously storing the CO2 inside their facilities. The storage of large amounts of gas can create safety hazards where a leak or rupture could occur.

The RAD-0102-6 Remote CO2 Storage Safety Three Alarm Monitor ensures employees and students are kept safe from these potential hazards. Early detection and alerts have saved countless lives in scientific facilities by alerting staff to the potential hazards of a CO2 leak.   

Additionally, the facilities are also using liquid nitrogen for cooling and freezing of samples during "vitrification". Technicians can quickly freeze the eggs using the liquid nitrogen for long term storage. These samples are then stored in large tanks of liquid nitrogen until they are needed.

Incredible? Yes.

Yet, the storage and use of liquid nitrogen raises safety concerns too. Similarly to the safety concerns with stored cylinders or bulk CO2 tanks, N2 storage would require a safety monitor as well to detect if the nitrogen has driven out oxygen to the point of human asphyxiation.   

To ensure safety near stored Nitrogen (N2) our Remote Oxygen Depletion Alarm (RAD-0002) can be used to detect the levels of oxygen in the room and will provide audible and visual alarms should the oxygen fall below acceptable levels.

By installing safety monitors and educating staff or employees on the potential risks that could occur in incubation or laboratory settings, you can ensure peace of mind and be able to save lives in the event of an emergency.


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