for one very good reason...

People can handle and manipulate mammalian cells right in the incubator.


glove box collage

Incubating and processing in the same humid workspace is a recipe for disaster...

Heated humidified bacteria glove boxes are easily modified for mammalian cells. Simply add O2 and CO2 control. We know. We were the first to routinely do it, way back in the '80s (see sidebar below). Currently the manufacturers of anaerobic and microaerophilic bacteria glove boxes are enjoying a secondary side market as people in mammalian cell culture labs start to realize the importance of handling cells under continuous, uninterrupted, optimal conditions. Instead of taking cells out of the incubator and disrupting conditions while handling them in the hood, bacteria glove boxes allow you to handle cultures right in the incubator. The glove box is the incubator. The incubator is the glove box.

Migration started with the study of angiogenesis in the '90s, and the need for deep hypoxia to induce the angiogenic phenotype in mammalian cells. At the time, no incubators controlled oxygen this low. So people naturally gravitated toward anaerobic chambers. Anoxia certainly is deep. Initially people tried both anaerobic scrub chambers and anaerobic glove chambers, but glove chambers worked better. Later it would be discovered why. They made it possible to handle hypoxic cells without interrupting the hypoxia. Scrub chambers did not. Reason was the extreme oxygen lability of oxygen regulated transcription factors. Even a brief exposure to a rise in oxygen shuts down phenotypic expression. This could not be prevented with scrub chambers. That's when the migration toward glove chambers intensified. Add O2 and CO2 control and instantly you get a mammalian cell culture incubator with gloves. Many brands are now referred to as "hypoxia workstations".

Anaerobic bacteria glove box manufacturers such as Coy, Bactron, Thermo Forma, Ruskinn, Whitley, Plas-Labs, and others are good at what they do. It is very difficult to create and keep anoxia. Even a few parts-per-million of oxygen will prevent obligate anaerobes from growing. Bacteria glove boxes must be absolutely sealed, and stay that way. This is a considerable challenge. Some manufacturers have designed incredibly solid heavy steel welded boxes with thick glass windows to keep out the oxygen. Some have developed clever, highly mechanized glove ports and air locks to keep the oxygen out. Even though the simple addition of O2 and CO2 control does not require such heroic measures, and even though it may be a diversion from their main business, hats off to these companies. It has been fortuitous for many hypoxia scientists. It provided the only way to incubate and handle mammalian cells in the same chamber.


However, sometimes cells need more!


Sometimes Cells Need Better Protection

The major handicap in an incubator with gloves is contamination. Routinely moving non-sterile items into the warm humidified space where cultures are incubating is a nightmare. In the humidity, every microbial hitchhiker on these items will immediately start to grow. It's very difficult to prevent them from coming in. Any that stick to the floor of the glove box will continue to grow. Contamination wipes out everything inside. Then you have to decommission and decontaminate the whole thing before you resume. For cells it is always best to separate the humidified incubation area from the processing and handling area.

CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #1 - Upgrade your People-Centric glove box by adding SubChamber Culture System. Remove humidity in glove box where you can continue to handle cells, but no longer culture cells there. Now culture the cells in integrated humidified SubChamber Culture System incubation chambers with independent O2 and CO2 control. (Any existing bacteria glove box (1) can be integrated with our Subchamber Culture System to add one or more separated independent humidified incubation chambers. Just cut out the back wall (2) and attach Subchambers (3).

ruskin ibm composite

CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #2 - Upgrade your People-Centric bacteria glove box by adding a separate dedicated processing chamber. Keep the humidity and continue to use the humidified microbial glove box as the incubator, but don't bring all those potentially contaminated supplies inside. Keep all that contamination risk in a separate area. Now handle and manipulate your cultures in the new integrated but separate dry processing chamber. (Any existing bacteria glove box can be integrated with our CShuttle, IGlove, or Xvivo processing chamber attached via air-lock pass-thru chamber.)

c-shuttle ruskin


Sometimes Cells Need Full Time Optimization

The great thing about handling and incubating your cells in the same chamber is the ability to process cultures (subculture, change media, add supplements, etc.) without interrupting the cell parameters, especially . However, what if your cells need to be examined frequently under a microscope? When you remove them, cells get exposed to suboptimal conditions and a disruption to the hypoxia. Other processing procedures such as sorting, washing, counting, imaging, and reading are also disruptions.

CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #1 - Upgrade your People-Centric glove box with retrofit accessory microscope chamber. (Any bacteria glove box can be integrated with an attached Xvivo microscope chamber.)

ruskin microscope chamber


CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #2 - Extend it to any processing need. Additional unlimited processing chambers allow you to now accomplish any processing procedure without disruption. (Any existing bacteria glove box can be integrated with any
Xvivo System, as below, with an attached microscope chamber and an attached plate reader, for example.)

ruskin microplate reader

CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #3 - Upgrade with docking buffer chamber for transport chambers. (Any existing bacteria glove box can be integrated with a Subchamber Culture System buffer chamber that will receive and dock any of our culture chambers or transport chambers.)

Ruskin C-chamber dock


Sometimes Cells Need Physiologic Simulation

If you have an anaerobic bacteria glove chamber or other heated glove box which has not been yet modified for mammalian cells, you can easily add O2 and CO2 control.

CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #1 - Direct addition of O2 and/or CO2 control with modular retrofit controllers. (Any existing glove box can be fitted with a ProOX 110 and/or ProCO2 controllers, or the ProOx C21 with combined O2 and CO2 control.)

ruskin proox


The migration of bacteria glove boxes into mammalian cell applications was driven by the need for hypoxia so O2 and CO2 are sometimes covered, but if your cells need CO or even other gasotransmitters such as NO, O3, H2S to better simulate normal physiology, you can upgrade or retrofit to get these physiologic simulations.

CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #1- Direct control with modular retrofit controllers and fume hoods. (Any existing bacteria glove box can be retrofitted with appropriate controllers and shrouded by a dedicated fume hood for leak safety.)

ruskin oxycycler

CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #2 - Integrate and attach Xvivo System with CO, NO, etc. incubators. (Any bacteria glove box can be integrated with Xvivo high performance incubation chambers.)

Xvivo Glovebox


Sometimes Cells Need Dynamics

CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #1 - Upgrade People-Centric bacteria glove box with direct retrofit of dynamic O2 control. Monolithic glove chamber makes all cultures experience same protocol. (Any bacteria glove box can be retrofitted with one of our modular dynamic controllers.)

Ruskin C42


CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #2 - Upgrade with retrofit SubChamber Culture System chambers with dynamic control. Each subchamber can have different conditions at same time.

Ruskin IBM 2x OxyCycC42

CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #3 - Upgrade by integrating Xvivo System with expanded multiple simultaneous capacities. Many simultaneous but different exposures are possible.

GB Xvivo



Sometimes Cells Need Different Protocols

Conventional People-Centric hypoxia workstation glove boxes are monolithic with one space and one set of conditions. However, sometimes different protocols require different conditions.

CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #1 - Upgrade with integrated SubChamber Culture System. Depending on size of glove box determines limit of how many chambers and how many different protocols.

Ruskin IBM with o2


CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #2 - Upgrade with remote SubChamber Culture System. Integrate Buffer Chamber with remote incubator with multiple C-Chambers.

Ruskin Cchamber Dock Incubator


CYTOCENTRIC SOLUTION #3 - Upgrade by integration with Xvivo System for unlimited protocol accommodation.

Xvivo Chamber



Have something in mind...ready to upgrade >



We were the first to routinely put O2 control in bacteria glove boxes starting in 1984.  We were the first to routinely put O2/CO2 control in bacteria glove boxes starting in 1986. Now hundreds of glove boxes around the world have been upgraded with our products to provide the biosphere mammalian cells need.  Eventually some glove box  manufacturers followed. Now several offer their own models with O2/CO2 control built in.

Glove boxes are made by many different companies. The anaerobic bacteria glove boxes were the first to migrate into mammalian cell culture labs because they were already heated, humidified, and anoxic. But now most glove box manufacturers can provide these basics.