A food microbiology laboratory would not be able to complete research or conduct tests without an assortment of specific and specialized equipment. Below are some pieces of equipment that are necessary in any microbiology laboratory:
1. Analytical balance
Method of operation: An enclosed measuring pan is used to prevent interference from dust, air currents, and other particles. In modern analytical balances, electromagnets are used to counteract the force of the mass being measured. A precise measurement is then displayed based on the exertion of this counteractive force.
Purpose: Used for incredibly precise measurements of mass.
Method of operation: This machine works by removing the air inside an enclosed space and using the heat from pressurized steam to kill bacteria and spores and sterilize both liquids and solids.
Purpose: Used to prepare equipment for use, particularly culture media (the substances used to support the growth of microorganisms), as a hot air oven cannot be used to sterilize liquid or gel substances.
3. Colony counter
Method of operation: Manual colony counters use handheld pen-style devices which use touch pressure to count each colony of bacteria. Modern electronic counters can count all colonies at once if a slide or petri dish is placed below a sensor.
Purpose: Used to count the number of bacterial colonies present in liquid cultures and estimate the concentration of microorganisms.
4. Hot air oven
Method of operation: As air in an enclosed chamber heats and rises, a circular motion is created as the air is pushed back down, ensuring a consistent temperature throughout the chamber and sterilizing the equipment inside.
Purpose: Used to sterilize solids and dry substances such as glassware, metal, and powders. Liquids cannot be sterilized via this method due to evaporation.
5. Hot plate
Method of operation: Produces heat through electrically charged coils.
Purpose: To heat substances without the use of open flame. Convenient due to its portability.
Method of operation: Controls temperature, humidity, and pH in an enclosed space, allowing the creation of optimal conditions for the growth of many types of organisms.
Purpose: To maintain a controlled environment with optimal conditions in which one can cultivate microorganisms for later observation.
7. Laminar flow hood
Method of operation: An enclosed space allows air to flow through a HEPA filter and directs it back at the user in order to prevent contaminated air from entering the work space. This is done in combination with a UV light that is used for sterilization before use of the hood.
Purpose: Prevent contamination of sensitive samples exposed to open air.
8. Magnetic stirrer
Method of operation: A magnetic stir bar is placed into the necessary container and then put on a platform under which a rotating magnet causes the stir bar to mix the substances inside the container.
Purpose: To mix liquids for long periods of time and to prevent contamination from other mixing methods.
Method of operation: Curved pieces of glass called lenses are used to refract light rays and magnify an object that is positioned correctly under the lenses.
Purpose: Used for the observation of microorganisms and other particles that cannot be seen without magnification.
10. pH meter
Method of operation: Uses electrodes to measure the hydrogen ion activity in water based solutions.
Purpose: To measure the acidity in a solution.
Method of operation: A particular wavelength of light is passed through a liquid substance and the amount of light that gets absorbed is measured. This allows for quantitative analysis of a solution.
Purpose: Used to help the counting of bacteria and measurement of substance concentrations. This can help with quality control and other food and microbiome analyses.
12. Water bath
Method of operation: A container of water is heated to the desired temperature with electric heating elements
Purpose: Used to heat samples under a constant and controlled temperature. Also used when heating to very precise temperatures is required, with as little fluctuation as possible.
13. Water distiller
Method of operation: Water is heated to the point of evaporation, leaving behind contaminants and other particles. The evaporated water then condenses and becomes liquid water with no impurities.
Purpose: Used to avoid impurities in tap water that could negatively affect the preparation of culture media and other solutions.
14. Glassware etc. – flasks, beakers, petri dishes, pipettes, test tubes, etc.
Method of operation: Contains liquids and solutions, or moves them from one location to another.
Purpose: Prevalent in all laboratory settings, glassware is used for the measurement, mixing, and observation of substances and solutions.
Casework and Storage Options
The equipment listed above is only a preview of all of the appliances and instruments that food laboratories need to operate smoothly. Having the space to organize and store this equipment is also a necessity. Creating the right environment for food microbiology research requires strong, clean, and ergonomic casework and storage space. Stainless steel provides resistance to the growth of bacteria, to oxidation and corrosion, and is generally resistant to wear and tear. Another benefit of stainless steel is how easy it is to clean and keep free of contaminants.
The fully welded metal cabinets made at OnePointe solutions provide a multitude of options so that you can find the option that best meets your needs. All of our metal cabinets and casework come with a powder coat finish and a five year warranty, as well as soft-close hinges, door slides, and the option to customize.
Custom Food Lab Benches and Countertops
Every work space is different. The best way to take advantage of every inch and to get the most out of your space is to get custom benches made. That way, you do not need to worry about equipment not fitting at a workstation or about the sub-par functionality of a non-custom bench.
Personalized accessories and countertop materials ensure that the product works for you and functions just as needed. For food microbiology specifically, stainless steel is a great option, as its non-porous surface will prevent bacteria and germs from penetrating the surface, which makes cleaning and contamination prevention a breeze.
Epoxy resin is another quality choice for countertops, as it helps prevent corrosion and moisture buildup. It is also durable, heat resistant, long-lasting, and comes in several color options. Last but not least, phenolic resin countertops helps you meet laboratory requirements while staying cost effective and providing resistance to chemicals, water, and wear and tear.
Custom Design and Planning
OnePointe Solutions offers help with custom floor plan designs for your food lab and would be happy to get a sales representative and designer to discuss your needs and vision with no cost or obligation to you.
From custom casework and benches to specialized floor plans, we at OnePointe Solutions will live up to the name and help come up with a solution to any workstation needs or concerns our clients may have.
Custom lab furniture can be made in your preferred color, dimensions, countertop and frame materials, and so much more. Similarly, an individualized floor plan design helps you make the best use of your space and guarantees that you are part of the process every step of the way. Reach out to us today for more information!
Need Help Designing a Food Lab?
Call us at (866) 222-7494 to speak to a lab specialist today. They will help you walk through the process of planning and designing your food lab ideal for your facility.