Why is CO2 Used in the Incubation Industry?

Over a thousand years ago in China, the earliest incubators were "developed" for keeping chicken eggs warm. Advances in science flourished between then and the 1960s when modern CO2 incubators were developed. However, the science of CO2 in incubation has stayed very much the same since then.

Image Credit: CO2Meter

The ability to grow and study cultures is enabled by standard incubation equipment because technicians can maintain proper development and optimize temperature and humidity conditions for cell growth.

The inclusion of carbon dioxide (CO2) has advanced the science. The demand for incubation equipment and services has been expanded by advances in in vitro fertilization (IVF) over the last 20 years.

This substantial growth in the market has also meant that incubator manufacturers and designers can employ advanced techniques to create innovative new solutions and products for this growing customer demand.

The utilization of CO2 in incubators has also driven demand for quality, certified gases for these clinics and laboratories. With gases, comes the need for monitoring.

CO2 Advantages in Incubation

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

To ensure accuracy and to ensure extremely tight tolerances and specifications, Labs and clinics are constantly monitoring and adjusting their desired levels in incubators. Occasional or constant double checks of readings are a key part of quality and tolerance controls.

Importance of CO2 Monitoring

While many incubators possess built-in CO2 monitoring in the design of the systems, third-party verification is a crucial part of the accuracy of incubators.


CO2 Sampling Data Loggers are designed for this express purpose. Carbon dioxide levels must be measured and monitored daily to ensure the stability of the cell cultures when dealing with the overall pH levels of the cells.

Image Credit: CO2Meter

The most frequently employed devices among CO2Meter cell biologists, lab technicians, embryologists, and pharmaceutical clients is the Incubator IR CO2 Sensor.

The (MH-100) Incubator IR CO2 Sensor is specifically designed to monitor and detect carbon dioxide levels in cell incubators to manage ideal cell and tissue growth.

To measure the exact cell experienced environment without having to remove the sensor during high-temperature sterilization cycles, the CO2 sensor may also be placed directly in the incubation chamber.

Image Credit: CO2Meter

Furthermore, CO2Meter also provides a portable, battery-powered sampling data logger for medical and scientific applications. This device, known as the (CM-1000) Multi Gas Sampling Data Logger, is designed to measure multiple gas concentrations through a sampling method simultaneously.

The device will draw samples into the sensing chambers using a micropump, allowing each sensor to take a quick and accurate measurement of the sample. The Multi Gas Sampling Data Logger integrates into a large scope of industries, including incubation, because of its ability to measure a variety of gas concentrations such as CO2, CO, O2, AMB, CH4, RH, DP, and ALTI.

In addition to measurement capabilities, the CM-1000 features data logging capabilities, a large LCD display, audible alarms, and the option for any 20 mm EC sensor to be added.

Additional Gas Monitoring

These laboratories and clinics store the CO2 inside their facilities and the storage of large amounts of gas can cause safety hazards where a rupture or leak could occur.

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

For cooling and freezing of samples, the facilities also utilize liquid nitrogen during "vitrification". Using liquid nitrogen, technicians can quickly freeze the eggs for long-term storage. These samples are then kept in large tanks of liquid nitrogen until they are needed.

Image Credit: CO2Meter

However, the storage and employment of liquid nitrogen also raise safety concerns. Similarly to the safety concerns with stored cylinders or bulk CO2 tanks, N2 storage would also require a safety monitor to detect if the nitrogen has driven out oxygen to the point of human asphyxiation.

To ensure safety near stored Nitrogen (N2), CO2Meter’s Remote Oxygen Depletion Alarm (RAD-0002) can be employed to detect the levels of oxygen in the room and will give visual and audible alarms should the oxygen fall below acceptable levels.

Peace of mind can be ensured and lives saved in the event of an emergency by installing safety monitors and educating staff or employees on the potential risks that could occur in laboratory or incubation settings.

About CO2Meter

Our goal is to make high-quality gas detection products and expert solutions available to you.

CO2Meter.com is the website for CO2Meter, Inc., an engineering firm located in Ormond Beach, Florida.

CO2Meter, Inc. is a Florida based business specializing in the design and manufacturing of gas detection and monitoring devices – mainly CO2. Our approach is one based in the science of gas and how best to accurately and repeatedly measure that gas for the end users purposes. Our business partners in agriculture, HVAC, science, safety, research, pharmaceuticals, beverage, and other fields find our devices to be highly accurate and cost effective.

We approach each customer’s application as a unique opportunity to understand, educate, and provide product solutions that meet the customers’ needs while exceeding their expectations for reliability and service. Our continued product innovation in combination with our “customer first” focus allows CO2Meter, Inc. to continue to provide solutions for the future.

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Last updated: Oct 19, 2020 at 10:53 AM


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