Last Updated on September 27, 2023


Sourcing autoclaves to sterilize small bioreactors and fermentors can be challenging due to the configuration of and cost of most autoclaves

Autoclaves are an important part of the sterilization of bioreactors and fermenters. Particularly those that need top-loading autoclaves. Sourcing these can be difficult due to complex logistics and funding limitations. Yet, there are a couple of reasons you should get one for your research facility. They will increase the number of sterilizations you do per day, reducing load times on equipment. This means less wait time between batches for any product or process variation. Also, your staff capacity won’t be taxed thanks to faster processing cycles.

The Promise of Recombinant Antibody Treatment

As a promising therapy against coronavirus and other viruses, there has been an increased focus on monoclonal antibody (mAbs)-based treatments. This then raises the demand for equipment necessary for antibody production research. As well as increases the demand for equipment used in full-scale production.

There are many methods for cloning antibodies. Whether it be with bacteria or mammalian cells. These bioreactors and fermentors will help increase scalability. Anyone who has been involved in antibody cloning operations will know that proper bioreactor and fermentor sterilization is key to preventing contamination from ruining production levels.

Challenges in Increasing Sterilization Capacity

Autoclaving is the preferred method for bioreactor and fermentor sterilization. Because of the ability to sterilize the entire contraption under pressurized steam. Yet, increasing an operation’s autoclaving capacity in a short amount of time is not a simple task. Both in logistics and funding. This is often because autoclaves are large and expensive pieces of equipment. Which are also difficult and time-consuming to source, install, and maintain.

Many laboratories are still in the early to intermediate research stage and unclear on the promise of mAbs-based therapeutic products. And, may not be ready to make large-scale capital investments in industrial-scale autoclaves. Because of the awkward configuration of most industrial autoclaves, those that are large enough to accommodate small to medium-size bioreactors and fermenters would need investments of tens of thousands of dollars. Even to meet marginal throughput. Some autoclaves are designed to effectively accommodate smaller bioreactors and fermentors while being inexpensive, compact, and easy to install.

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


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Top-loading autoclaves’ vertically aligned chamber configuration provides the perfect solution for effectively and affordably scaling a bioreactor and fermentor sterilization operation.

Top-Loading Autoclaves for Bioreactors/Fermentor Sterilization

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

Laboratories that have immediate demand to scale their operation may find the following features useful:



  • The vertical configuration of top-loading autoclaves makes loading/unloading of bioreactors and fermentors easy (and maintains vertical alignment during the 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.
  • Because of 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 efficient means of bioreactor and fermentor sterilization, as well as quickly and cost-effectively scale-up antibody production research operations.

Disclaimer: TOMY autoclaves for research use only. Information in this blog entry is not meant to substitute for proper research, execution, and maintenance of laboratory practices. Please check the most up-to-date information on authoritative sources and adhere to applicable federal, state, and local regulations.



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