Is it safe to use a Bunsen burner in a biological safety cabinet (BSC)?

is it safe to use Bunsen burner in a biological safety cabinet | Medical Supply Company

The use of both biological safety cabinets (BSCs) and flames both share a common objective – the reduction of contamination in the microbiological laboratory. However, the use of BSCs and flames, most commonly in the form of a Bunsen burner, in conjunction with each other can create unnecessary risks in your laboratory.

MSC do not recommend the use of any open flame inside a BSC or laminar airflow cabinet (LAF) except where absolutely necessary. 

The use of Bunsen burners inside of a BSC is not recommended for four main reasons: 

  • Disrupts airflow, compromising operator and product protection
  • Creates excessive heat build-up inside the cabinet
  • Can damage the HEPA filter
  • Creates a risk of fire or explosion in the laboratory

 To avoid the use of open flames inside a BSC it is recommended to: 

  1. Determine whether sterilization is required at all within the clean air of a BSC
  2. Switch to the use of disposable loops and other laboratory consumables
  3. Investigate alternative means of sterilisation

If sterlisation is determined to be absolutely necessary, there are safer options available which mitigate some of the worst effects of using a Bunsen burner in a BSC. These products include Bacti-Cineratorglass bead sterilisers, and various modifications of the classic Bunsen burner.

See MSC’s full range of alternative sterilisers, including the Bacti-Cinerator and glass bead sterilisers, for use in clean air enclosures here

Baker Ruskinn have provided a detailed overview of the issues relating to heat sources/open flames inside BSCs. You can download their presentation here or the white paper here.

 MSC can supply a biological safety cabinet or laminar flow cabinet to suit your requirements. You can browse our full range here, or feel free to get in touch to discuss your needs with one of our technical specialists.

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