v Top-Loading Autoclaves for Bioreactor and Fermentor Sterilization | TOMY

Last Updated on June 4, 2021

Top-loading autoclaves’ vertically aligned chambers are ideal for sterilizing bioreactors and fermentors

Autoclave Sterilization for Bioreactors and Fermentors

Autoclaves can be an effective means of sterilizing bioreactors and fermentors, due to the ability to subject the entire contraption to high heat and pressure, thereby killing unwanted organisms completely and definitively without using caustic and potentially contaminating chemicals. The materials from which bioreactor and fermentation vessels are made, such as stainless steel and glass are ideal for autoclave sterilization, as they can tolerate high-temperatures necessary to sterilize and prevent fouling. For these reasons, autoclaves are the ideal choice for sterilization to prevent contamination from unwanted organisms, thereby protecting mammalian and insect cells and tissues cultured in bioreactors, as well as bacteria, yeast, algae and other microorganisms for fermentors.

Autoclaving Effectively and Affordably

Though autoclaving is the most effective means of sterilization, for many organizations, especially smaller labs in biotech start-ups and breweries, an autoclave can be a large, expensive, and time-consuming piece of equipment to own and maintainThe configuration of many autoclave sterilizers would require the purchase of a very large (and expensive) model to accommodate even a small to medium-sized bioreactor or fermenter. Fortunately, there are autoclaves that are specially-designed to accommodate and effectively sterilize larger items such as bioreactors and fermentors, while being inexpensive, compact, and easy to install.

Top-loading type autoclaves are ideal for sterilizing bioreactors and fermentors typically found in small laboratories, due to the design, utility, and affordability of these types of autoclaves.


  • Top loading autoclaves have chambers that are cylindrical in shape and vertically-aligned, making them perfect for accommodating bioreactors and fermentors, which are most often cylindrical in shape as well.
  • The size and dimensions of most top-loading autoclaves are a good match for smaller bioreactors and fermentors. The TOMY SX-700 (70L Chamber Size) can easily accommodate 7L, 10L, and even 15L* bioreactors and fermentors.  For questions about your bioreactor/fermentor compatibility with TOMY autoclaves, please contact us.


  • The vertical configuration of top-loading autoclaves makes loading/unloading of bioreactors and fermentors easy (and maintain vertical alignment during loading and sterilization cycle), especially compared to smaller front-loading autoclaves. Using a tall loading basket allows for easy handling of heavy bioreactor/fermentor cylinders, especially when the device is hot after a sterilization cycle.
  • The vertical configuration allows for bioreactors and fermentors to be sterilized with liquid culture media inside the cylinder. When used with a tall basket, liquids can be caught and prevented from entering the chamber water.
  • Top-loading autoclaves have a relatively small footprint for their capacity. TOMY SX-Series autoclaves have the smallest known footprint to chamber size ratio among top-loading autoclaves.
  • TOMY top-loading autoclaves require no installation (steam or exhaust connections) and simply need to be plugged in and filled with water.


  • Standard front-loading autoclaves large enough to accommodate bioreactors and fermenters are prohibitively expensive for smaller organizations and highly ineffective (in terms of price to loading capacity) for all organizations. Relatively speaking, top-loading autoclaves, such as TOMY SX-Series autoclaves are very affordable in high loading capacity for sterilization of bioreactors and fermenters.
  • Due to the simplicity of design, reliability, and low maintenance needs, top-loading autoclaves are more affordable in terms of long-term upkeep costs.


As illustrated, top-loading autoclaves can be both an effective and affordable means to sterilize bioreactors and fermentors, even for smaller labs with limited resources.

For pricing and questions concerning TOMY SX-Series autoclaves and the compatibility of your bioreactor/fermentor please email us, call us at 858-800-3900 or contact us.

Tomy SX-Series Autoclave Sterilizer

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