Your Biohazard Waste Autoclave Procedure: What Time and Temperature?

When we last discussed red-bag waste autoclave procedure, we talked about running “your standard waste cycle” (noting that these vary by lab). So how do you determine your lab’s “standard” biohazard waste cycle?  The general rule for autoclave sterilization taught at most colleges is “15 minutes at 121ºC kills everything.“  But that’s definitely too short … Continue reading “Your Biohazard Waste Autoclave Procedure: What Time and Temperature?”

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”

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”

Research Lab Autoclave Safety: Sealed Bottles are Bombs

In August of 2001 a research lab autoclave was processing tightly capped 178 bottles using a 30-minute liquid load.  The autoclave began making unusual sounds, so a trio of lab workers aborted the cycle and investigated.  They opened the autoclave to discover a few bottles had burst.  There was some lost liquid and a lot … Continue reading “Research Lab Autoclave Safety: Sealed Bottles are Bombs”

Research Lab Autoclave Safety: Bad Doors and Autoclave Explosions

  WARNING: These are disturbing pictures of research lab autoclave accidents. There is blood. What happened?  A lab tech loaded an older-style autoclave, began the cycle, and walked away to attend to other tasks.  Either due to user error or wear-and-tear over time, the door locking mechanism was not fully engaged.  As the cycle progressed, … Continue reading “Research Lab Autoclave Safety: Bad Doors and Autoclave Explosions”