What is the Best Sterilization Technique to Use?
Sterilization is a process intended to annihilate and remove all forms of life present in a certain region. It’s accomplished by use of physical or chemical means. These are the most common methods of sterilization in laboratory. Read on!
|TABLE 2 – Outline of the properties of heat decontamination methods.|
|Dry Heat||Thermal inactivation: destroys by oxidation||Non-corrosive Simple design and principle||Less effective than moist heat; requires longer times and/or higher temperatures||Materials that are damaged by, or are impenetrable to, moist heat|
|Hot Air Oven||160-180 °C for 2-4 hours||• Penetrates water-insoluble materials (e.g., grease and oil)|
• Less corrosive to metals and sharp instruments than steam
|• Slow diffusion, penetration|
• Loading, packing critical to performance
• Not suitable for reusable plastics
|• Anhydrous materials, such as oils, greases and powders|
• Laboratory glassware, instruments
• Closed containers
|Red-heat Flame||Oxidation to ashes (burning)||• Rapid||• Initial contact with flame can produce a viable aerosol|
• Possibility of accidental fire
|• Inoculating loops, needles|
|Infrared||Heated chamber ranging from 480 – 825 °C||• Rapid (5-7 seconds)|
|• Works with small items that fit the chamber||• Inoculating loops, needles|
• Glass tube, pipette mouth
|Boiling||Maximum temperature obtainable is approximately 100 °C 10-30 mins||• Minimal equipment required||• Cumbersome: not practical for everyday laboratory use|
• Not reliably sporicidal
|• Small instruments and equipment|
|Autoclaving||Steam under pressure 121°C /15 psi for 15-90 minutes (gravity displacement autoclave) 132°C /27 psi for 4-20 minutes (pre-vacuum autoclave)||• Minimal time required|
• Most dependable sterilant for laboratory use
|• Loading and packing critical to performance|
• Shielding dirt must first be removed
• Maintenance and quality control essential
• Damages heat-sensitive items
|• Penetration of sterile glassware, media and instruments|
• Decontamination of reusable supplies and equipment
• Decontamination of infectious waste
While many of these personal methods are able to sterilize surfaces, they are frequently used in combination to expand a suitable sterilization protocol. Although sterilization itself does not need downstream validation for use in a manufacturing setting, it is suggested that these processes are closely monitored and quantified wherever feasible to guarantee safe and consistent results that increases personnel safety.
TT-825-S / TT-825-L Infrared Micro-Sterilizer utilizes infrared that produce 825 °C to incinerate organic material deep within the ceramic funnel.
Ideally used to provide complete sterilization of platinum inoculating loops, needles, glass tube or pipette mouth in 5-7 seconds.
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