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Sterilization and Disinfection

Sterilization and Disinfection

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Published by: shahbaz on Feb 10, 2008
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09/27/2012

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STERILIZATION AND DISINFECTIONImportant in:1.Laboratory work with pure cultures requires the use of apparatus and culturemedia that is sterile2.Prevention of infection in patients requires the use of equipment,instruments, dressings and parenteral drugs that are free from living micro-organismsGeneral definitions:Sterilization is the process of killing all of the microorganisms in all its forms in apreparation/article such as lab media, surgical instruments and equipment. A sterileenvironment is free of life of every kind.Disinfection is the process of destroying pathogenic organisms on the surface, butdoes not involve the tissues. It is a process which reduces the number of contaminating micro-organisms, to a level which is no longer harmful to health.This usually involves the application of chemicals. Handscrubbing prior to surgery isan example.Antisepsis is used to describe disinfection applied to living tissue such as a wound.Septic is the presence of pathogenic organisms in living tissues, such as an infectedsurgical site.Aseptic is the absence of pathogenic microbes.Bactericidal agents effectively kill bacteria, and no growth is seen after the removalof the agent.Bacteriostatic agents inhibit bacterial multiplication; growth is seen after the agentis removed.Pasteurization is the rapid heating and cooling of milk and other liquid products tokill pathogens, such as Mycobacterium, Brucella and Listeria. Tyndallisation is intermittent heating.Mode of action of sterilization and disinfection:Damage of DNAProtein denaturation
 
Disruption of cell membrane or wallChemical antagonismRemoval of free sulfa hydral groupSterlization in practice, has a probability of failure. An article may beregarded as sterile if it can be demonstrated that there is a probability of less than 1in a million of there being viable micro-organisms on it.Physical and chemical sterilization may be used.5 main methods for sterilization:1.Heat2.Ionizing radiation3.Filtration4.Sterilant gases5.Sterilant liquidsHEATMoist heat is more effective than dry heat because it kills micro-organisms bycoagulatin and denaturing their enzymes and structural proteins, a process in whichwater participates. It is therefore necessary for all parts of the load to be in contactwith water molecules or steam. Sterilization requires moist heat at 121C for 15minutes, usually using an autoclave. Steam is non-toxic and non-corrosive, but for itto be effective, it must hold all the water that it can carry in the form of transparentvapour. There are sterilizers for porous load(dressings, wrapped instruments and wrappedgowns and drapes); sterilizers for fluids in sealed containers;sterilizers forunwrapped instruments; and laboratory sterilizers (culture media, glassware and labequipment). Thermometers and pressure gauges are recorded for every load.Indicator tapes may be used.Before, Bacillus stearothermophilus was used to test autoclaves. It can withstand121c for 12 mins.
 
Dry heat kills micro-organisms by the destructive oxidation of essential cellconstituents. Killing of the most resistant spores requires a temperature of 160C for2 hours. This is an efficient method for sterilizationand disposal of contaminatedmaterials (pathologic waste,surgical dressings, sharp needles and other clinicalwaste).Red heat is a form of dry heat, such as sterilizing inoculating wires using the flameof a Bunsen burner, avoiding splattering.Flaming is used for scalpels and the necks of flasks and test tubes.Hot air sterilizers are used to process materials which can withstand hightemperatures, but will be affected by steam. (powders, microsurgical instruments)IONIZING RADIATIONIonizing radiation, including x-rays and gamma rays are lethal to all cells. Bacterialspecies difer intheir sensitivity to ionizing radiation, and spores are generally moreresistant. This is used in the large-scale sterilization of plastic syringes andcatheters. It uses a linear accelerator or cobalt-60.GASEOUS PROCESSESEthylene oxide is a highly penetrative, non-corrosive, microbicidal gas which is usedfor the sterilization of single-use, heat –sensitive medical devices like prostheticheart valves. Materials are exposed to a gas concentration of 700-1000mg/L at 45-60C, 70% humidity, for 2 hours.Formaldehyde and low-temperature steam may be used for the reprocessing of heat-sensitive equipments.FILTRATIONFluids, including bacterial cultures,can be rendered free of bacteria by passagethrough filters with a pore size of less than 0.45 m.Most viruses and mycoplasmascan pass through fileters with a pore size as low as 0.22 m. This method is used in:1.Separation of toxins and other soluble products of bacterial growth2.Preparation of thermolabile parenteral solutions (antibiotics)3.Certain blood products

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