Incubators have a vital role in both clinical and non-clinical environments, with applications ranging from research to development, manufacturing and quality control. However, with pressure on today’s laboratories to meet new and increasing demands for commercial and clinical success, more is being required from these appliances than ever before.
Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines are becoming more strictly imposed, both by external regulatory bodies and by institutions’ own internal management. Current GMP guidelines require incubators to have systems and safeguards in place to protect the cell culture or the cell expressed product. This is particularly important when working with direct human material applications such as IVF, stem cells, regenerative tissue processes or autologous cell culture. Meanwhile, GLP criteria focus on achieving continuity in techniques and preserving the acquisition and integrity of typical incubator performance data.
Panasonic MCO-19 incubator series
To help laboratories meet these vital performance criteria, Panasonic has developed innovative technologies that enable the company’s range of MCO-19 incubators to achieve a safe, stable cell culture environment and maintain outstanding control of CO2 and O2 concentrations and temperature.
In comparison with direct heat decontamination systems, the hydrogen peroxide vapour (HPV) decontamination process, as employed in Panasonic MCO-19 incubators, permits quick turn around of the cell culture incubator from process to process where a complete decontamination is still required. With this method, less time is lost between applications, while the high levels of safety needed to meet regulatory requirements is retained. The increased speed of this process means that the equipment is out of action for substantially less time than when using similar direct heat decontamination systems, as shown in figure 1.
Figure 1: Downtime of H2O2 decontamination systems compared to direct heat
SafeCell UV® System
Panasonic MCO-19 incubators also employ a UV decontamination system, for applications where continuous contamination control is essential to cell viability. Using this system, an isolated narrow-bandwidth, ozone-free ultraviolet (UV) light located at the base of the chamber automatically switches on after each incubator door opening, destroying any airborne contaminants. Water-borne organisms in the humidity water reservoir are also eliminated in this way. The efficiency of this system is demonstrated in figure 2.
Figure 2: Decontamination efficiency of UV lamp in comparison to other tested wavelengths
CO2 and O2 Control Systems
While removing contaminants is crucial in ensuring sample viability, it is also essential to monitor and control CO2 and O2 levels within an incubator. This is especially the case for those cell culture processes requiring very tightly specified environments and growth conditions. With Panasonic MCO-19 incubator systems, CO2 and O2 levels are monitored constantly to deliver and maintain the optimum atmosphere for the application.
When it comes to controlling CO2 levels, the CO2 sensing system built into MCO-19 series provides the necessary levels of accuracy through the use of a single beam, dual detector. The ceramic-based sensor measures sample and reference wavelengths for continuous calibration, and is unaffected by moderate changes in temperature and relative humidity. The sensor is linked to a sophisticated PID microprocessor controller to reliably maintain temperature and gas set points, and CO2 levels are clearly displayed on a simple LCD display. In addition, a CO2 sample port mounted on the front of the incubator permits convenient and quick confirmation of chamber CO2 density.
At the heart of oxygen level maintenance in the MCO-19 incubators is a long-life zirconia oxygen sensor which upholds sub-ambient levels from 1% to 18%. Electronic PID control ensures high accuracy by preserving temperature and gas set points over the entire system range.
Direct Heat and Air Jacket Heating System
Delicate samples demand precise and uniform temperature control. In Panasonic incubators, a patented Direct Heat and Air Jacket encloses the chamber in high density foam insulation. This system, shown in figure 3, protects against ambient temperature fluctuations and ‘cold-spots’, and prevents condensation. Gentle fan circulation within the chamber also helps to maintain uniform temperatures.
Additionally, the direct heating system in Panasonic incubators ensures highly reactive temperature control in response to door openings. This direct heating is provided by three independent heating sources surrounding the chamber; in the top and rear wall; in the chamber base; and in the outer door. The innovative outer door heater warms the inner glass door relative to ambient conditions, preventing condensation and promoting temperature uniformity.
Figure 3: Panasonic’s Direct Heat and Air Jacket system
Panasonic’s innovative technologies promote the safe, regulated incubation of biological samples in a way that meets with current regulations. A range of control systems ensures reliable operation, making the incubators suitable across a range of applications where complete sample security is of top priority.
About Panasonic Biomedical
Panasonic has established a worldwide reputation as a manufacturer of high-quality and innovative medical and laboratory equipment over the past forty years. Long lasting relationships have been built with leading pharmaceutical, healthcare and biotechnology companies as well as with major academic and research institutes in Europe. Panasonic’s biomedical equipment features world-class, high-quality medical and laboratory equipment – backed by more than 40 years’ experience in the sector. The complete line of Panasonic Biomedical products includes an array of laboratory equipment with the most advanced technology, controls, construction and performance attributes in the industry. Today we apply the most sophisticated refrigeration compressor design and state-of-the-art electronics to ultra-low and cryogenic freezers, refrigerators, incubators, and environmental chambers marketed to life science, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, healthcare and industrial laboratory markets.
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