Humidity control on integrated plate shaker-incubator

Hey folks!

I wanted to discuss our current Liconic shaker-incubator, which is integrated into our platform. Specifically, I would like to address the humidity control feature of the model we have (StoreX STX44-HRSA). According to the manual, in order to regulate humidity levels, it is necessary to pour distilled water at the bottom of the incubator.

However, I am concerned about the possibility of undesired growth in this water.

Has any of you have attempted this method? Could you provide advice on adding any chemicals to prevent undesirable growth in the water without impacting cell growth experiments running in the same incubator?

Thanks a bunch!

In an old lab of mine, we just used to add some antimicrobial - “Bath-i-cide” or something - into our water baths. If that’s not an option, there’s always a strict clean/maintenance schedule and elbow grease. Contacting the MFR might be a good place to start.

I wonder if there’s some sort of UV accessory that could be integrated. Personally I’ve though that maintenance on anything with water in it tends to be tedious and never seems to be engineered for easy upkeep.

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We’ve got the same incubator, not particularly seen any undesirable growth issues. We typically clean it out twice a year, drain all the water, let it dry out, clean down with ethanol and then fill back up with fresh water.

We have an STX-110 IC (CO2 incubator) that is not humidity controlled. We just put a tall SLAS reservoir of water in the bottom of the incubator to increase humidity. This is basically how our teams do it with our non-automated incubators as well. You might find that this is sufficient and also a little easier to keep clean.

I plan on changing out that reservoir every couple of weeks or as needed if there’s growth. We do see growth from time-to-time in our non-automated incubators and when there is a full decon is done.

Thank you all for your comments, it is great to hear about your experiences. I am going to try water + AquaClean (or similar) and renew every couple of weeks. Let’s see how this goes!

It is very common to put a tray of sterilised (i.e. autoclaved) distilled water in incubators to allow humidity regulation. We used to put AquaGuard (which I think is v similar to what you linked to), but most products contain copper sulfate in which is the active anti-microbial agent, so in a pinch you could try that.

If the rest of the incubator is cleaned and maintained properly, unwanted growth should be at a minimum.