Preventing Contamination in Mammalian Cell Culture

By Kim McDonald, 20 July 2023

Mammalian cell cultures can become contaminated with microbial contaminants (e.g., fungi, bacteria, and yeast) as well as viruses. An estimated 25% of all cell cultures are contaminated with mycoplasma bacterium alone. Contamination can affect cell viability, inhibit normal cellular processes, and lead to inconsistent results and experimental failures. Sources of contamination include working surfaces, reagents, personnel, and instrumentation. Water is excellent at conducting heat and equally great at becoming contaminated. Thus, water baths and CO2 incubators are notorious for fostering the growth of bacteria, yeast, algae, and fungi, which can result in contaminated cultures. We’ve outlined best practices to ensure your water baths and CO2 incubators do not ruin your next mammalian cell or tissue culture experiment. 

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Water bath or bead bath: which one is better?

By Kim McDonald, 27 June 2023

Both water and bead baths are used to warm laboratory reagents, such as media, as well as incubate samples. As the names imply, a water bath is full of water, and a bead bath is filled with thermal metal beads. Water conducts heat evenly, whereas bead baths can cause uneven temperature distribution. When using a bead bath, it is a good idea to use a temperature probe to check for the temperature near your sample or reagent. Water baths are prone to contamination, whereas bead baths, such as those filled with aluminum Lab Armor® thermal beads, are resistant to contamination. This is especially important for applications where samples or reagents must stay sterile, such as cell or tissue culture media. 

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Safety Tips for Using an Oil Bath

By Aimee O'Driscoll, 05 December 2019

Dealing with warm or hot oil can be dangerous for a number of reasons. We discuss tips to help you mitigate the risks involved with using an oil bath.

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Open-Loop vs. Closed-Loop Circulation

By Aimee O'Driscoll, 24 March 2019

External circulation can be closed-loop or open-loop. Find out about the differences between the two and the implications when choosing a chiller or circulating bath.

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