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Laminar air flow cabinet

Equipment to avoid when using a laminar flow cabinet

posted on: September 19th, 2012
Combined with HEPA or ULPA filtration, laminar air flow protects the working area from microorganisms and other air-borne contaminants. The level of protection varies; a basic horizontal laminar flow booth will only protect the product from contamination, while a BioMAT 2 Class 2 safety cabinet also offers protection to the user and environment.

While many types of experimental apparatus can be safely used in a laminar flow cabinet, Bunsen burners and similar open flame devices must be avoided as they disrupt the air flow, and in any case are not needed in the near-sterile filtered environment. UV lamps are also not necessary, and in fact pose a serious health risk if they are left on while the room or cabinet is occupied.

Open flame sterilisation – keep it for the open bench

Bunsen burners have been used to flame sterile loops and flask necks for years. On the open bench, this provides an upward air movement which both kills microorganisms and carries them away from the working zone. However, in the unique environment of a laminar flow cabinet the air turbulence this creates will disrupt the flow of HEPA-filtered air, diminishing the cabinet’s effectiveness.

Where flame sterilisation is considered necessary, devices such as micro-furnaces or touch-plate mini-burners should be used. Disposable loops and test-tubes are the best option.

Ultra violet Lamps

Any laminar air flow device fitted with a UV light poses a potential risk to human health. UV exposure can lead to cataracts, burns and even skin cancer, so lamps should be checked weekly for UV radiation levels, and switched off when the room is occupied.

UV lamps installed in vertical or horizontal laminar flow devices must also be kept scrupulously clean, as the slightest amount of dust or dirt will reduce their germicidal efficiency.

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Contained Air Solutions Ltd, Unit 4, Greengate, Middleton Junction, Manchester, M24 1RU. Tel +44(0)161 655 8860 Fax: +44(0)161 655 8865 Email: info@containedairsolutions.co.uk