Points to consider when buying an incubator shaker:
1. What will be cultured in the incubator shaker?
The optimised growth of different types of organism depend on the capabilities provided by the incubator shaker. Not all options will be needed in all cases. An outlie guide is provided below:.
|Microorganisms||Temperature||Shaking speed||Shaking throw||CO2||Humidity||Illumination|
|Bacteria||20 - 60 °C||100 – 400 min–1||25 mm||✗||option||option|
|Fungi||23 °C||250 min–1||25 mm||✗||option||✗|
|Yeast||25 - 30 °C||200 – 250 min–1||25 mm||✗||Option||No|
||Temperature||Shaking speed||Shaking throw||CO2||Humidity||Illumination|
|Mammalian cells||37 °C||40 – 120 min–1||50 mm||✓||option||✗|
|Insect cells||27 - 28 °C||100 – 140 min–1||50 mm||✗||option||✗|
|Plant cells||20 - 28 °C||100 – 200 min–1||50 mm||option||option||option|
2. What type, quantity and size of culture vessels do I need?
This basic information is essential for ordering a suitable tray. Universal sticky mats allows for direct contact or sticking a suitable holder in place.
3. What are the height and weight of my proposed load?
High, heavy loads will lead to reduced shaker speeds and must be distributed evenly over the tray to avoid uneven loads that may cause vibrations or limit the performance of the shaker. The filling volume of individual vessels will largely determine the overall height and weight of the load. Keep in mind that a lower filling volume in a shake flask (10-15 % rather than 20-25 %) will greatly increase the surface area to volume ratio for improved gas transfer.
4. How much room do I have available and where?
All incubator shakers need a clear area around them for good gas and heat exchange. Take this into account when working out where the incubator shaker can be located in your laboratory. A small incubator shaker may be located under a laboratory bench to save work space. Stackable units increase capacity for a given footprint.
5. What do I need for rapid screening applications?
Any type of culture in standard 96-well microwell plates may need a combination of high speed and very short throw (3 mm) to ensue good mixing. A stacking system for plates can greatly increase the capacity of each deck of an incubator shaker, allowing several thousand individual experiments to be conducted simultaneously. .
6. What can I do about spills and the potential for contamination?
A way to prevent spillages from damaging critical components and keeping contamination ricks to a minimum is key for any incubator shaker. Liquid collection, wipeable surfaces and antimicrobial coating all have a part to play.
7. How good is dissolved oxygen transfer?
An orbital shaker mechanism provides the best mixing and aeration for both microbial and cell cultures. Shear-sensitive cultures may need a larger throw to provide good mixing while minimising the chance of damaging the cells. Alternatively, a short powerful throw may reduce aggregation of cells. Any type of cell cultured in standard 96-well microwell plates may need a combination of high speed and very short throw to ensue good mixing.
8. How even is the temperature distribution throughout the shaker?
This is especially critical for comparative studies, where flasks or plates on one part of the shaker tray must be subject to the same conditions as another part. Good air circulation on the chamber and accurate feedback control are needed to keep differences to a minimum.
9. Can I avoid disturbing my cultures due to repeated sampling?
A non-invasive real-time biomass monitoring system will eliminate repeated opening and closing of the chamber door along with stopping the shaking for sampling.
10. Can my incubator shaker be qualified?
This is necessary for applications which are part of a validated process e.g. for therapeutic protein production of vaccines. Validation would normally include the use of bioprocess software to record user actions and generate an audit trail.