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Chapter 5 : Physical Sterilization

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Abstract:

This chapter discusses the most widely used physical sterilization techniques and includes the use of moist heat, dry heat, and radiation. High-temperature steam (or steam under pressure) is the most widely used sterilization method. Steam is simply a gas that is produced by the heating of water and therefore can be explained by the gas laws that consider four variables: volume, temperature, pressure, and the amount of gas. Efficient air removal is essential to ensure steam sterilization, as air prevents the penetration of steam and leaves cold spots within the chamber/load that will not be adequately sterilized. Dry-heat sterilization methods include sterilization ovens and incineration. Incineration is essentially burning to ashes, which can be performed by passing material through a naked flame (for example, in microbiological manipulations by flaming) or in much larger scale applications in kilns or furnaces. For radiation sterilization, only high-energy or ionizing-radiation sources are utilized, due to their greater penetration and antimicrobial efficacy. Filtration methods can be used for sterilization of gas (such as air) and liquids, including water. The chapter also discusses developing methods, including plasma, pulsed-light applications, supercritical fluids, and pulsed electric fields.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 5.1
FIGURE 5.1

The relationship between saturated steam temperature and pressure.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.2
FIGURE 5.2

A steam sterilizer. Sterilizers are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, depending on the application. In addition, the steam sterilization process can be conducted as an intrinsic process of some manufacturing/industrial equipment, which can be routinely sterilized without being disassembled.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.3
FIGURE 5.3

The basic design of an upward-displacement steam sterilizer.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.4
FIGURE 5.4

The basic design of a downward-displacement steam sterilizer.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.5
FIGURE 5.5

The basic design of a prevacuum steam sterilizer.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.6
FIGURE 5.6

Typical steam sterilization cycles, showing different mechanisms of air removal and load conditioning prior to sterilization.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.7
FIGURE 5.7

The Bowie-Dick test, a method of testing the steam penetration and air removal capabilities of a vacuum sterilizer. Single-use test packs are shown at the top; they consist of a chemical indicator at the center of the test pack, which changes color on exposure to the correct combination of time, temperature, and steam. An unused indicator and one failing and one passing chemical indicator results are shown from left to right at the bottom.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.8
FIGURE 5.8

Typical water pretreatment systems for the production of steam.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.9
FIGURE 5.9

Effect of temperature on the lethality of a spore population with a of 1 min and a value of 10°C.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.10
FIGURE 5.10

An industrial dry-heat sterilizer, which is used for depyrogenation. Courtesy of Bosch.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.11
FIGURE 5.11

Representative effects of humidity/water content on the dry-heat resistance of bacterial spores.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.12
FIGURE 5.12

Generation and decay of Co.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.13
FIGURE 5.13

The generation of X rays. Electrons are shown being generated from the cathode and reacting with atoms at the anode to produce electrons via two mechanisms discussed in the text (brehmsstrahlung [A] and direct collision [B]).

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.14
FIGURE 5.14

A simplified linear high-energy E-beam generator.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.15
FIGURE 5.15

A typical γ-irradiator sterilizer.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.16
FIGURE 5.16

A typical exposure rack containing Co as a γ-radiation source within a γ-irradiator sterilizer.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.17
FIGURE 5.17

A typical E-beam sterilizer. An X-ray sterilizer may be in a similar orientation, with an X-ray source as an alternative to the E-beam accelerator.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.18
FIGURE 5.18

Example of plasma generation with oxygen gas (O).

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.19
FIGURE 5.19

An example of a pulsed-light sterilizer. Courtesy of Xenon Corporation.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 5.20
FIGURE 5.20

The relationship between solid, liquid, gas, and supercritical fluid states for a substance. As the temperature and pressure increase, the substance can exist in each state. Above the critical temperature () and pressure (), the substance demonstrates combined properties of a liquid and gas and is known as a supercritical fluid.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
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References

/content/book/10.1128/9781555816445.ch05
1. Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. 2005. Sterilization. Part 1: Sterilization in Health Care Facilities. Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, Arlington, Va.
2. Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. 2005. Sterilization. Part 2: Sterilization Equipment. Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, Arlington, Va.
3. Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. 2005. Sterilization. Part 3: Industrial Process Control. Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, Arlington, Va.
4. Block, S. S. 1991. Disinfection, Sterilization, and Preservation, 4th ed. Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia, Pa.
5. Block, S. S. 2001. Disinfection, Sterilization, and Preservation, 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, Pa.
6. Fraise, A. P.,, P. A. Lambert, and, J.-Y. Maillard. 2004. Russell, Hugo & Ayliffe’s Principles and Practice of Disinfection, Preservation & Sterilization, 4th ed. Blackwell Science Ltd., Malden, Mass.
7. Meltzer, T. H., and, M. W. Jornitz. 2006. Pharmaceutical Filtration: the Management of Organism Removal. PDA, Bethesda, Md.
8. Moisan, M.,, J. Barbeau,, S. Moreau,, J. Pelletier,, M. Tabrizian, and, L. H. Yahia. 2001. Low-temperature sterilization using gas plasmas: a review of the experiments and an analysis of the inactivation mechanisms. Int. J. Pharm. 226:1-21.
9. Russell, A. D.,, W. B. Hugo, and, G. A. J. Ayliffe. 1992. Principles and Practice of Disinfection, Preservation & Sterilization, 2nd ed. Blackwell Science, Cambridge, Mass.
10. Wallen, R. D.,, R. May,, K. Rieger,, J. M. Holloway, and, W. H. Cover. 2001. Sterilization of a new medical device using broad-spectrum pulsed light. Biomed. Instrum. Technol. 35:323-330.

Tables

Generic image for table
TABLE 5.1

Common steam contaminants and their effects

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
Generic image for table
TABLE 5.2

Typical qualities of WFI and “clean” steam

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
Generic image for table
TABLE 5.3

Typical steam sterilization cycles

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
Generic image for table
TABLE 5.4

Examples of standards and guidelines for steam sterilization applications

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
Generic image for table
TABLE 5.5

Typical steam sterilization cycles recommended for TSE-associated decontamination

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
Generic image for table
TABLE 5.6

Examples of bacterial-spore resistance to dry heat at 160°C

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
Generic image for table
TABLE 5.7

Materials disinfected and/or sterilized by radiation

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
Generic image for table
TABLE 5.8

Typical doses of radiation for biocidal applications

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5
Generic image for table
TABLE 5.9

Examples of standards and guidelines for radiation sterilization applications

Citation: McDonnell G. 2007. Physical Sterilization, p 165-189. In Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816445.ch5

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