Common tasks should be easy. That’s why your break-room microwave has a “popcorn” button. If you run the same culture media sterilization cycle every morning, then you should be able to load the autoclave, push a button, and walk away. Even better, you should be able to load the autoclave the night before, push a button, and arrive to find that growth media ready to pour when you come in the next morning.
Unfortunately, most lab autoclaves—especially “low-cost” tabletop sterilizers—are general-purpose devices or stripped down medical-grade autoclaves with stripped down control systems. They either have a few preset cycles (none ideal for media prep), or a simple set of “toaster oven” knobs. These autoclaves need babysitting, and are prone to media volume loss, boil-overs, and burst bottles.
Making the Ideal Autoclave for Growth Media Sterilization
Priorclave autoclaves are designed for research, with special attention to liquid loads, nutrient broth, and media preparation. Our chamber and valve design discourage evaporation, bottle ruptures, and excessive boiling.
While plumbing certainly matters, the true key to a good media sterilization autoclave is having the right control system. With Priorclave’s research-ready programmable control system, you have precise control of temperature, timing, and pressure. This substantially simplifies the preparation of agar-containing and high-glucose-content media, as well as those containing sodium desoxycholate, bile salts, or other inhibitory agents and additions.
Media sterilization is a primary task in many labs, so all Priorclave systems come with Timed Freesteaming, Media Warming, and Delayed Start features, as well as One Button Start programming. Timed Freesteaming is primarily used to remove the air burden from difficult loads such as plastic waste, but can also prove handy if you need to melt pre-sterilized growth media.
Our Media Warming feature can be added to any cycle program: Immediately after the sterilization cycle finishes, the autoclave cools to 45ºC, then cycles the chamber between 45ºC and 55ºC until the door is opened. This keeps nutrient media both sterile and ready-to-pour for hours (even overnight). With Media Warming, there’s no risk of accidentally caramelizing high-glucose media, having your culture media gelling before you get around to using it, or spoiling a batch because someone got distracted.
With the Delayed Start function, you can set the time at which your sterilization program begins up to 24 hours in advance. Your schedule will no longer be dictated by the limitations of your equipment.
And any cycle program—regardless of complexity or length—can be pre-set for One Button Start. Your Priorclave can even be locked-down so that operators can run only approved programs—or even just a single specific “foolproof” cycle.
Top Autoclave Picks for Culture Media Sterilization
Because every Priorclave comes with the same research-grade programmable control system, any of our units can handle almost any culture media prep regimen. In our experience, many North American labs prefer the tabletop 40L and 60L models. While many “economical” tabletop autoclaves are repurposed medical-grade sterilizers—with light-duty plumbing, pressure vessels, and control systems—our research-grade units are optimized for harsh tasks like regular waste loads and media prep (and the occasional boil over that comes with daily media sterilization).
Internationally, vertical “top-loading” autoclaves are our top-sellers for research institutions and labs. These aren’t just energy, water, and space-efficient (offering the same sterilization chamber volume in a dramatically smaller footprint)—they also easily accommodate the tallest flasks, fermentors, and bioreactors, at one-third the price of a comparable front-loading autoclave.