Laminar Flow Hood or Laminar Flow Cabinets, also known as Clean Benches, are units for containment of splashes of infection or virus that might be active in a sample.
These units have controlled air flow circulation for prevention purposes. It has HEPA air filters installed in it which, from time to time, introduces sterile air into the cabinet. This sterile air keeps the sample safe from external contamination.
Laminar Flow Hoods have been designated as Class I, II, and III have been developed to meet varying research and clinical needs.
These hoods offer good level of protection to the employees working in the Laboratory. It is also suitable for good microbiological techniques and the environment of the laboratory. The design and working of the same is very similar to the design and airflow characteristics of a chemical fume hoods.
While Class I Laminar Flow hoods do not provide protection against any kind of cell culture experiments, Class II biosafety is used for handling such kind of potentially hazardous materials like primate derived cultures, virally infected cultures, radioisotopes carcinogenic or toxic reagents. These are recommended to provide a sterile and aseptic environment which is necessary for cell culture experiments. Class II cabinets provide better protection against all kind of samples.
This category provides the highest precautions available for any cabinet. It also provides a highly aseptic environment and protection to the personnel. These cabinets are gas-tight and are also known as biosafety cabinets.
Depending on the industry, a Laminar flow hood is generally used in places which require a sterile working environment. They are used in places like a laboratory or a diagnostic centre or any such industry where outside contamination could be fatal for all experiments. Another important place where such benches are used is in scientific laboratory or observatory. Such places which work on experimental material or samples which are toxic in nature, radio-active or highly contagious in any other way require highly effective Class III Laminar Flow Hoods. In laboratories or diagnostic centres, which work on microbiological products that require sterile environment but are not necessarily toxic use Class I type of Laminar Flow Hoods. A Class II Laminar Flow Hood is essentially used in places which have cell culture growths and a need to keep them safe from all kinds of contaminations.
The purpose of a Laminar Flow Hood is to make sure that an experiment is sterile and safe from all kinds of external irritants. Anything that can destroy the results or manipulate the same because of external influences should be kept at bay. It ensures protection and safety of the personnel as well as the samples, depending on how secure it is and where it is being used. As mentioned above, a Class III Laminar Flow Hood is ineffective if it doesn’t keep an aseptic environment and protect personnel. On the other hand a Class I Laminar Flow Hood’s only concern is that of the sample.