Carbon Dioxide Incubator: all aspects including history

Carbon Dioxide Incubator and its history

A carbon dioxide (CO2) incubator, also known as a CO2 cell culture incubator or simply a CO2 incubator, is a specialized piece of laboratory equipment. It is used in various areas of biology, especially cell culture and microbiology. CO2 incubators are designed to provide a controlled environment for the growth and maintenance of cells, tissues and microorganisms under optimal conditions for their growth and proliferation. This article gives a detailed overview covering all aspects related to Carbon Dioxide Incubators, including its history, let’s take a look:

Features of Carbon Dioxide Incubator

With many features like temperature control, CO2 regulation, humidity control, monitoring and alarm, the incubator plays a vital role in the laboratory. Let us know about all these features of carbon dioxide incubator:

1. Temperature control

Carbon dioxide incubators are designed to maintain a constant and precisely controlled temperature. It is usually set at 37°C (98.6°F). This temperature mimics the physiological conditions of the human body, which is ideal for the growth of most mammalian cell cultures.

2. Carbon dioxide regulation

CO2 incubators are equipped with CO2 regulation systems. This system allows users to control and maintain the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) within the incubator chamber (typically around 5% CO2). It mimics the CO2 levels found in the human body and is essential for pH regulation in cell culture media.

3. Humidity Control

It is important to maintain proper humidity levels to prevent cell growth and drying of the cell culture. CO2 incubators often have humidity control systems, allowing users to adjust and maintain a consistent relative humidity level within the chamber.

4. Sterilization and contamination prevention

CO2 incubators include features to prevent contamination and maintain a sterile environment for cell cultures. This also includes:

  • High temperature cycle to kill bacteria, fungus and other contaminants.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) light irradiation to disinfect the interior of the incubator.
  • HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter to remove airborne contaminants.
  • Smooth, easy-to-clean surfaces to reduce potential sources of contamination.

5. Shelving and Layout

Carbon Dioxide Incubators are designed with adjustable shelving systems or trays to accommodate a variety of culture vessels, including petri dishes, cell culture flasks, multiwell plates, and roller bottles. The layout has been optimized to maximize space utilization while providing easy access to samples.

6. Monitoring and Alarm

CO2 incubators are equipped with digital monitoring systems that continuously measure and display vital parameters, including:

  • temperature
  • CO2 concentration
  • humidity level

Alarms are integrated into the system to alert users to any deviations from set conditions. This helps ensure the integrity of experiments by quickly identifying and resolving issues that may impact cell cultures.

7. Gas Supply and Regulation

CO2 incubators require a source of CO2 gas, usually supplied via a gas cylinder or piped into the incubator from a central gas system. The gas regulation system of the incubator ensures to maintain a stable and accurate CO2 concentration.

8. Culture Environment Adaptation

Researchers can customize incubator settings to create specific culture conditions for different types of cells and experiments. This flexibility allows a wide range of research applications.

9. Application

CO2 incubators are essential equipment in a variety of research and clinical applications, including:

  • cell culture and expansion
  • tissue engineering
  • cancer Research
  • drug discovery and testing
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
  • microbiology research

10. Maintenance and calibration

Regular maintenance and calibration of CO2 incubators is essential to ensure accurate and consistent performance. This includes cleaning, periodic temperature and CO2 concentration calibrations, and regular inspections.

History of Carbon Dioxide Incubator

The history of carbon dioxide incubators is a testament to the development of laboratory equipment and techniques in the fields of cell biology, microbiology, and tissue culture. However, it is challenging to pinpoint a single inventor or specific date for the creation of the carbon dioxide incubator, as many scientists were involved in its creation. The development sequence of carbon dioxide incubator is as follows:

1. Early cell culture technology (late 19th to early 20th century): Incubators were used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to maintain controlled conditions for cell and tissue cultures. These early incubators typically relied on regulation of temperature and humidity, which made them limited.

2. Discovery of the role of CO2 (1930 – 1940): Scientists began to recognize the importance of carbon dioxide (CO2) in cell culture. Then in the 1930s and 1940s, researchers such as Alex Carell and Montrose Burroughs observed that mammalian cell cultures required CO2 to maintain the pH of the culture medium and support cell growth. Thus the importance of carbon dioxide incubator was emphasized.

3. Development of CO2 regulation (1950s – 1960s): During the mid-20th century, advances in technology and materials allowed the development of incubators capable of regulating CO2 levels. These early CO2 incubators often used a bubbling system to introduce CO2 gas into the chamber.

4. Commercialization and refinement (1960s – 1970s): As cell culture and tissue engineering techniques became more widely adopted, the demand for reliable CO2 incubators increased. Commercial manufacturers began producing CO2 incubators, improving their accuracy, reliability, and ease of use.

5. Advances in Control Systems (1980s – 1990s): In the 1980s and 1990s, CO2 incubators saw significant advances in control systems. Digital temperature and CO2 concentration controls, as well as monitoring and alarm systems, became standard features.

6. Diverse applications (late 20th century – present): CO2 incubators have become indispensable tools in a wide range of scientific and medical applications, including cell biology, cancer research, drug discovery, tissue engineering and assisted reproductive technologies Are. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

7. Continuous improvement (21st century): In recent years, CO2 incubators have continued to develop. Today, scientists have introduced features like touchscreen interfaces, remote monitoring capabilities, and better sterilization methods in CO2 incubators.


The development of carbon dioxide incubators has been a collaborative effort of scientists, engineers, and manufacturers. This tool has played an important role in advancing our understanding of cell biology and has contributed to many breakthroughs in medical research and health care.

CO2 incubators are widely used in a variety of research and clinical applications including cell biology, tissue engineering, cancer research, drug discovery and in vitro fertilization. These incubators provide a controlled and stable environment, allowing researchers to maintain cells and microorganisms in the conditions they need. These mimic the in vivo environment, promoting their growth and ensuring experimental reproducibility.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *