Things You Must Know About BIOTECH LABORATORIES
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A visit to biotech laboratories can feel like entering the future. It’s a place of scientific wonder — where people and machines work together to search for cures and treatments for diseases, engineering trees that produce sustainable fuel, and engineering food that is resistant to drought and pests. Yet, you’ll find the picture familiar as scientists dress in white coats and safety goggles while they perform experiments on long metal tables cluttered with beakers full of colorful liquids.
Biotech laboratories are facilities that use technology to study living organisms. They typically use for research and development, but some have a more commercial focus.
The concept of our modern laboratory began in the 18th century when scientists such as French chemist Antoine Lavoisier began to work in organized sites, known as societies of correspondence. These were groups of people who shared scientific findings in books sent to each other across Europe, which allowed researchers to efficiently distribute information on discoveries and inventions.
Lavoisier was the first to have a full-time lab assistant, and the kind of organization that allowed scientific discovery to flourish seen in the 18th-century example above. In general, these early labs consisted of long tables lined with beakers and other equipment. These facilities were not clean places — they were messy, smoky, and dirty. Therefore, they didn’t last long.
In 1772, British chemist Joseph Priestly was working in his home laboratory when he discovered oxygen.
Labs have been in existence ever since, but their role has changed over time. In the early days of research and development, labs used not only for experiments but also to manufacture objects such as glassware. When this changed in the 20th century — partly due to the success of R&D labs at companies like Xerox, IBM, and AT&T — these facilities became more focused on basic research.
Today, biotech laboratories are still often used for both R&D and manufacturing. Some are devoted to researching new drugs and devices, while others work on engineering specific products for profit.
Laboratory design has also changed over the years. Most labs began as cluttered spaces in homes or spaces shared with other businesses. The first large laboratory design specifically for research was the Royal Laboratory of the Marine Coast Guard, which built in France in 1847. It was an enclosed space with what would become standard lab equipment: long tables, sinks, and drains for waste disposal, lighting, ventilation, and data analysis equipment.
Equipment used in biotechnology labs:
- Incubator: Used for keeping cells, viruses, and bacteria at specific temperatures
- Centrifuge: Separates liquid material by density
- Autoclave: Used to kill microorganisms using steam under pressure
- Vortex mixer: Stirs liquid materials in an enclosed container to create a vortex or whirlpool effect inside the liquid material
- Dissection instruments or blades for cutting tissue specimens
- Two sets of dray water bath and heat blocks
- Power supplies- to use with gel boxes
- Stirring hot plates- to mix and heat the solutions
- Horizontal electrophoresis gel boxes- to run the DNA sample
The history of the biotech laboratories is a long one; stretching back to ancient times. When, for example, Romans would mix metals with animal or human blood, and while experiments in chemistry. Biology later carried out by individuals in their homes or locales such as breweries and universities, modern laboratories began to spring up during. The Industrial Revolution as accelerating mechanization allowed scientists to gather together in more organized spaces.