Incubators are those devices which are widely used, to grow and maintain cell cultures. Its first and foremost function is to maintain optimal temperature, humidity and other conditions such as carbon dioxide and oxygen content of the atmosphere inside. There are three main types of materials which are used or is necessary to manufacture an incubator. The first is stainless steel sheet metal of a common grade (0.02 to 0.04 inch) thick and is used to resist rust and corrosion. Other necessary components are nuts, screws, insulation, fans, motors and other miscellaneous items. And this type of material is electronics package, whose functioning depends on the usage of the unit in consideration. It may have a simple on/off switch or can be programmed microprocessor module to maintain different temperature levels.
Importance of Incubators
There are multiple uses of Incubators in a scientific lab:
- It is commonly used to maintain a constant temperature, and there can be other built in functions as well. But their functionality’s not limited to this, as many of them can even control humidity as well.
- Incubators with shaking function, incorporate movement to mix cultures.
- Internal gas composition can be regulated by using Gas Incubators.
- Air circulation are used by some of the incubators, in order to ensure even distribution of temperature.
- Incubators built for laboratories has an in-built power source, to avoid experiment disruption due to power outages.
- Tissue culture is done, which is a research technique to extract tissue fragments of plants and animals, to monitor their further growth, by putting them in incubator. For example, tissue culture has enabled the researchers to know more about cancerous cells so that vaccines can be developed for polio, influenza, measles and mumps.
- It can also be used in genetic engineering, to manipulate the genetic materials, in pursuit to create new organisms by combining DNA’s of distinct sources. It has widely helped the researchers, to make insulin and other biologically vital and important proteins. The nutritional content of fruits and vegetables can also be increased by using genetic engineering, which can greatly increase the resistivity of various crops to avoid disease causing bacteria.
The incubator’s have provided a very basis or foundation for today’s medical advances in cellular and molecular biology. While neonatal incubators will always be required by the hospitals to monitor the new born babies, just to save them from death due to premature deliveries, the bio-technological industry remains one such place, where the actual and active growth lies for this particular product. The incubators which are growth chamber type, will always be needed to control temperature and relative humidity with more precise settings, in order to support microbiologists and researchers, as they investigate new ways or methods to improve our health and well-being. Thus, Incubators being one such product which will continue to evolve with the technological advancements, just to support human race and other living beings safe and peaceful co-existence.