3 Types Of Lab Equipment Needed To Maintain A Sterile Environment When Working Outside Of A Cell Culture Hood

Posted on: 24 January 2017

When working with cell cultures in a lab, it's vital that you're careful not to contaminate your work. In particular, you need to be careful of two types of contamination: chemical and biological. Chemical contaminants involve impurities in the media and detergents that you use, whereas biological contaminants include yeast, mold, bacteria, and virus. Cross contamination of other cell cultures is also possible if you're working with different lines. In the event that you are working outside of a cell culture hood, the following 3 types of lab equipment can help you maintain and keep a sterile environment to ensure that contamination does not occur.

Use a Bunsen Burner

If maintaining a sterile environment is of utmost importance, getting a bunsen burner for your lab can be incredibly useful. Not only can the flame of the bunsen burner be used to help sterilize the equipment that you work with, like glass bottles and spreaders, but the heat of the bunsen burner creates an updraft in the local area. The heat from the bunsen burner rises up and will basically lift away any contaminants that might be hovering over your work area. This helps to keep biological contaminants away.

Work close to the flame of the bunsen burner, as it basically creates an umbrella for your work area. You should sterilize the surface of the work table with diluted alcohol after the bunsen burner is lit to further remove any contaminants that may have already been present.

Spread Ultraviolet Light

Did you know that ultraviolet light can be very effective in removing lingering contaminants in the air? Ultraviolet light can easily break down the DNA or RNA of bacteria, virus, mold and spores. As a result, they are highly recommended for hospitals, food processing plants, and other public facilities, as well as laboratories since they can do an effective job. You should use ultraviolet rays in conjunction with a bunsen burner or other types of equipment that help remove contamination.

While there are various different devices that emit ultraviolet light, the most popular option is to install a light in the air ducts. You can also purchase portable devices that will allow you and your team members to sterilizee the air above your workplace. These devices also help improve indoor air quality, which can be a blessing for those with asthma or for those who suffer from airborne allergies.

Try Autoclaves

Having the means to sterilize the tools and equipment that you work with, like petri dishes, is vital in ensuring that your cell samples and work do not get contaminated. Having to sterilize everything manually can be difficult and may not be effective. Your best bet is to purchase an autoclave, which will use pressurized steam to sterilize the equipment you place inside. While you can adjust the settings, most experts recommend sterilizing equipment for approximately 20 minutes at settings of 121 degrees Celsius and 15 pounds per square inch.

Autoclaves come with many different functions and features. Look for ones that can handle large loads all at once for the sake of convenience. Autoclaves not only remove chemical contaminants, but biological contaminants as well.


Maintaining a sterile environment is crucial in ensuring that your work and cell samples do not get contaminated. This not only improves the accuracy of the results and measurements that you get, but also ensures that you won't have to waste time and attempt various samples over and over again. You'll get better results and be able to publish a more refined paper for your findings that will help put your name out there in the scientific community.


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