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Laboratory Autoclave Procedure Warning: Do You Account for “Thermal Inertia”?

Many labs don’t heat large liquid loads long enough to assure sterilization. The standard autoclave procedure is “hold a load at 121ºC for 20 minutes to assure sterilization.”  This is endorsed by everyone, from the United States Pharmacopeial Convention and Food & Drug Administration, to the Department of Health & Human Services and every university on … Continue reading “Laboratory Autoclave Procedure Warning: Do You Account for “Thermal Inertia”?”

Lab Autoclave Function Primer: Intro to Air Ballast Systems

In general, autoclaving sealed flasks is a very, very bad practice.  But that isn’t to say it’s impossible.  If you need to sterilize sealed containers, then you need to make sure you have a special autoclave function to do it safely: an “air ballast” system. What’s an “Air Ballast” Autoclave Function? All steam autoclaves use … Continue reading “Lab Autoclave Function Primer: Intro to Air Ballast Systems”

The Number One Contaminant in Your Research Lab

There can be a fine line separating good research lab practice and voodoo compulsions. (“Loosely crimping” foil around the mouths of flasks and beakers prior to sterilization is a perfect example.)  But the core problem is one of assumptions.  Specifically, assumptions about the primary sources of contaminants in the lab. “One of the reasons that … Continue reading “The Number One Contaminant in Your Research Lab”

We Need Sustainable Labs for Sustainable Research

The global consensus on climate change has grown increasingly dire.  Nonetheless, a shocking  percentage of “sustainable research” is done in labs that do not operate in an environmentally sustainable manner. According to recent figures, the average research lab consumes five to eight times more energy than a typical office space of the same size.  Labs … Continue reading “We Need Sustainable Labs for Sustainable Research”

Bad Benchtop Autoclave Installations

  Sometimes a bad benchtop autoclave installation is pretty straightforward: That drain valve looks pretty good—it’s taped, they’ve used a quality ball valve (which is much more reliable over the long term than a standard gate valve). But we sure hope no one left their car keys or phone in that drawer. Now, such SNAFUs … Continue reading “Bad Benchtop Autoclave Installations”

Lab Autoclave Procedure Best Practices: The Futility of Foil

There are many justifications for crimping foil loosely over the mouths of containers before autoclaving. The most common—and seemingly most reasonable—is that this common autoclave procedure keeps viable spores from drifting onto the sterilized items. That seems to make sense: If I want to keep dust off the the sofa stored in my garage, I … Continue reading “Lab Autoclave Procedure Best Practices: The Futility of Foil”

*Gobble gobble!*🦃

Being headquartered in the American Midwest, we’re taking the day off. To all of our U.S. customers, have a happy, restful, and well-fed Thanksgiving—and to all of our customers worldwide, we’ll see you all bright and early tomorrow! Need a last-minute recipe? We’ve got you covered!  🦃🍗  

Autoclave Procedure: Four Rules for No-Mess Liquid Sterilization

As we’ve discussed before, the best autoclave procedure for running liquid loads is trickier than just loading up the autoclave and choosing the “liquid cycle.” Follow these four rules and you’ll largely avoid trashing your autoclave chamber, plumbing, and drain while losing your liquids to evaporation, boil over, or burst bottles: 1. Never fill the bottles … Continue reading “Autoclave Procedure: Four Rules for No-Mess Liquid Sterilization”

Autoclave Sterilization Tips: Abandon All Foil, Ye Who Pass This Way!

We need to talk about your autoclave sterilization rituals and aluminum foil. Specifically: Do not use aluminum foil when sterilizing empty beakers and flasks! Loosely crimping foil over the mouths of empty flasks prior to autoclaving them is a widespread practice in many research labs.  Justifications for this practice vary.  Some claim it keeps water … Continue reading “Autoclave Sterilization Tips: Abandon All Foil, Ye Who Pass This Way!”

Research Lab Autoclave Best Practices: The Liquid Cycle Won’t Save You

Every modern research lab autoclave has a “liquid cycle”—a cycle just for processing liquids, growth media, and so on.  Nonetheless, more often than not, if you fill a bunch of 1L bottles up to 900mL and process them on the “liquid cycle” they’re going to come out like this: The glass isn’t cracked; where did … Continue reading “Research Lab Autoclave Best Practices: The Liquid Cycle Won’t Save You”