Biology laboratories are special environment that are designed to perform experiments under exacting conditions in order to ascertain critical outcomes. These outcomes can have tremendous impacts on industry and even the lives of some or all humans on the planet. Because of this reason, scientists are serious regarding their time in the laboratory. They have a professional demeanor and insist on professional tools that can assist them in their experiments.
The list of equipment can be long and detailed, but the common thread is that the equipment must be well made and provide flawlessly, the needed functions for which it was purchased. Each piece of equipment has a well-defined role and they are only employed for their specific roles. When a piece of equipment fails or is misused, it can cause experiments to fail as well and even cause potential harm to those working in the laboratory. This places an additional need on equipment manufacturers who supply to laboratories, to provide well-performing equipment.
The range of what is needed can be broad but there are some pieces of equipment that are standard in nearly every lab. The list includes, test tubes, flasks, beakers, ovens, a range hood, an anaerobic chamber, microscopes and Bunsen burners and hoods. We will focus on two key instruments that are stars in the biology laboratory, aerobic chambers and microscopes.
The anaerobic chamber, was developed more than 40 years ago for microbiologic use, as a way to handle atmospherically sensitive materials without having them becoming exposed to unwanted gases humidity, or contaminants. Anaerobic chambers allow scientists to easily process, culture and examine samples without exposure and while keeping them isolated.
They are typically boxes with two cut-outs allowing the operator to place his hands into the sealed chamber using gloves connected to the chamber. The scientist interacting with the substance in the chamber occurs utilizing these gloves. Anaerobic chambers play an irreplaceable role in the biology laboratory.
Microscopes allow scientists to view objects too small for the naked eye to see. For example, the smallest sized object one can see with the naked eye is 200 micrometers. Yet many of the lab organisms to be handled will be less than 1000th of this size. A microscope allows scientists to view these sized microorganisms with ease.
In the lab, biologists use microscopes of different types of microscopes each with different power to view organisms and samples closely. Each microscope type is high-powered, and very sensitive with an ability to make even the smallest parts of a single cell visible in great detail.
Here are the different type microscopes used in a typical biology lab:
Light microscopes use the shortest ray of light to give scientists a clear view of cells. They can magnify cells up to 1000 times
Electron microscopes are the most sensitive used in typical biology laboratories. They provide much greater detail than light microscopes. Electron microscope use beams of electrons to bring the finest details of a cell into focus and can magnify up to 200,000 times, allowing even large molecules to be seen.