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I was wondering how One might keep an incubator sterile?, It always seems to Revert to its damp smelly state, when left for a while. The air in the chamber is somehow contaminating my jars, even with foil over the top. It is starting to piss me off, my jars will be like 95% colonized, and then the green death appears. I have included a pic of my incubator setup. in case you can't tell from the pic, there is a fish tank heater in the bottle of water, which keeps the contents of the styrofoam chest at 30 degrees C (80 degrees for you americans, hehe)
I know you can't really see from the pic(poor photography) but there is green spots in in black circle. On another note, how much contamination can be tolerated?. my cakes are getting 95% colonized, but there are tinny patches of green.
any thoughts much appreacieated.
Soak everything in a 10% bleach solution between uses and wipe it down with IPA (isopropal alcohol) before use. Don't reuse any water of solutions inside the incubator. You might also let the thing "bake" (opened up) in direct sunlight for a few days (during the summer).
Are you sure the contamination is coming from the incubator and not somewhere else? You might mix up a few jars and place half in the incubator and half in another room somewhere. If both sets of jars start to show signs of contamination then your problem is likely elsewhere.
-------------------- Just another spore in the wind.
I have read somewhere that a styrofoam cooler is not the best for incubating. It is extremely porus and can house many contams for a long long time. I use a regular coleman cooler with a solid plastic interior. Everytime I check on the jars I always spray a 10% bleach solution on the walls and top of the interior of the cooler before I close the door. So far I have only had 1 contaminated jar, and that jar was an experiment to begin with.
It must be the sterilazation process or something. I have a styrofoam cooler, and mine hasnt given me any problems...yet. It was used also. I havent seen any problems, even when I am not sterile when opening or closing the container. Incubation hasnt been a real big problem for me. I either have mycelium or 100% colonized cobweb. And be sure to PC your shit before innoculating. Boiling shit has never worked real good for me. Just my 2 cents
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I have to agree about changing from styrofoam. It is very porous and will allow nasties to invade easier than if you'd just invest $10 on two sterlite tubs. When I fist set up my incubator last week I rubbed down the inside of the 'top' tub with rubbing alcohol and a Clorox wipes after that. Then I just sprayed it with Clorox anti-bacterial spray before putting the jars in. Every time I open to check on my jars I always spray the room/area where my incubator is...let the air/spray to settle then I put on my face mask and laytex gloves which I rub dry with isopropyl first. I always flip the incubator lid so the bottom/inside is facing up while it's not on the incubator itself....once I'm ready to close it I spray generously on the lid's bottom side and I spray several good mists into the incubator directly so it settles on the sides and bottom and jars. Then I just flip the lid and put it back on. So far I'm contam-free.
Remember...sterility is better to shoot for overkill with precaution than lose all your jars.