Opinion on Self sterilizing incubators

Ned Mantei mantei at cell.biol.ethz.ch
Sat Nov 30 07:25:22 EST 2002

In article <51c3a5d3.0211291933.40ff65ff at posting.google.com>,
 utsuxs at hotmail.com (bob) wrote:

>I saw a couple of pamplets on self sterilizing incubators (Sanyo and
>Both are heating element air heated as opposed to a water jacket.
>1st question  Do the modern air heated incubators provide uniform heat
>as well as the water jacketed types?

They have fans. so I see no reason why the temperature wouldn't be 
uniform since the air is circulating rapidly.

>2nd question  Do these self sterilization models really work?  Does
>anyone have one that can offer their opinion?  They claim to kill all
>mycoplasma, fungi, yeast, and spores.  Is this true?  Leaving ab and
>anti-fungal agents aside I thought you needed autoclave conditions
>(125 degress celcius, > 3 atmospheres) to kill these buggers?
>I doubt these incubators can achieve that.

They heat up to 180 C for 3 hours. You don't have to take anything 
apart, autoclave shelves separately, or any of that kind of thing. Very 
convenient. We usually sterilize when an incubator happens to be empty 
for awhile. 
Many years ago I had a warm-air incubator that became contaminated with 
mold spores. In the end I had to give up the incubator. It was 
impossible to clean the fan and motor. In contrast, the modern 
self-sterilizing incubators also sterilize the fan (The motor is in a 
separate compartment). 

I also suggest going for a model with a humidifier (water vapor is 
injected only as needed) rather than having a pan of water in the 
bottom. Less friendly to molds, and another thing that doesn't have to 
be cleaned and disinfected.

Ned Mantei
Department of Cell Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland

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