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Dr. Charles Berry ________________________________________________________________________ Sterilization - This is an absolute term which means the "killing or removing of all forms of life." Additionally, sterilization means to render incapable of reproduction - free of life, especially microbial life forms. Sterilization is defined as the act or process of making something sterile. Usually, it implies the destruction of all microorganisms in or about an object. It is reserved for only those processes in which the killing of the organism can be documented especially through the use of bacterial spores as indicators of whether life remains after a treatment cycle. Usually, sterilization is best accomplished in an autoclave (using steam), or other method usually involving either moist or dry heat. Few other techniques can accomplish this high a level of organism control. Disinfection (acting as gemicides) - Is the process of destroying pathogenic microorganisms or inhibiting their growth and vital activity. This term refers to the "taking away or eradicating the agents which cause infection or disease (pathogens), not all organisms." Literally, the word means "death to the disease-producing organisms." In many instances it is not necessary, nor practical, to remove all organisms from a specific environment. It may be sufficient to remove only those organisms that cause disease and leave the non-pathogens in place. Frequently, when chemicals are utilized to accomplish the control of the pathogens on inanimate objects, they are usually termed - disinfectants. Antisepsis (bacteriostasis) - Antiseptics are chemicals that are destructive of the organisms causing disease. They usually act by preventing the growth and reproduction of the bacteria that they affect. This process is also called bacteriostasis and does not result in the immediate killing of the organism because it simply arrests or greatly retards the growth of bacteria. The word "sepsis" in Greek means "to stand still." Antiseptics are not as harsh as disinfectants and thus may be used on living tissue. Germicide - The suffix "-cide" is from the Latin root of "caedo" which means "to kill." Usually what is being killed is named in the prefix portion of the word. Therefore a germicide is an agent (chemical) that is destructive to germs or microbes. This is a nonspecific microbial control description and is better described by the following terms:
Bactericide - Agents that destroy or cause the death of bacteria. Fungicide - Agents that destroy or cause the death of fungi as either in the form of yeasts or molds. Viricide Agents that destroy or cause the death of viruses.
large volumes. (a) An autoclave is a high pressure of 15 LBS PER SQUARE INCH device used to allow the application of moist heat above the normal-atmosphere boiling point of water (b) Exposure to 121ºC for 15+ minutes is typically sufficient to sterilize (c) Again. autoclave ±more effective at penetrating heat to the object Dry heat (a) Dry heat typically requires higher temperatures than moist heat to effect sterilization (b) It also is less penetrating and requires longer exposure (c) Typically one bakes materials in the an oven at (i) 171ºC for at least one hour (ii) 160ºC for at least two hours (d) Incineration is another common method of dry heat sterilization.g. steam autoclaving is the most practical option for the majority of health care facilities for both sterilization and disinfection purposes. Of these physical procedures. e. Heat (a) Heat is a highly efficient means of sterilization so long as the material to be sterilized is resistant to heat (b) Different types of heat application include (i) Dry heat e. but it merely slows the decline of organisms rather than preventing it (4ºC is the temperature of a standard refrigerator) (b) Of course. which are less time-consuming and more reliable than chemical germicides. for psychrophiles the refrigerator could represent a fairly good growth environment . sterilization is best achieved by physical methods such as steam or dry heat.g.Physical Control Generally. oven ± typically takes longer to kill (ii) Moist heat e.g. the material must be 121ºC before the clock starts (d) Large items. and items that are poorly penetrated by steam may Refrigeration (a) Refrigeration is a great short term solution. such as the flame incineration of an inoculating loop Moist heat ± presence of water or water vapor (a) Moist heat is more effective than dry heat dry heat at a given temperature or length of exposure (b) Moist heat is also more penetrating than dry heat (c) Boiling water is the most common form of application of moist heat but is not capable of killing bacterial endospores or killing all viruses Autoclave ± Know what is in red..
g. supplies. The majority of chemical disinfectants have toxic properties: follow the manufacturers directions for use and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (e. freezing constitutes a reasonably good long-term preservation method with prevention of deterioration increasing as temperatures are lowered (c) Prevention of damage during freezing is accomplished by mixing cultures with glycerol (d) Lower temperatures result in greater long-term storage: (i) -20ºC is the temperature of a standard freezer (ii) -80ºC is a good temperature for long-term storage of microorganisms (iii) -180ºC is the temperature of liquid nitrogen.. Since liquid chemical germicides generally require high concentrations and several hours of exposure time for sterilization purposes. or biohazardous waste depends upon a number of factors. spores vs vegetative cells. eye protection. apron). they are usually used for disinfection rather than for sterilization purposes. disinfection vs sterilization). gloves. especially when handling stock solutions. a common medium for longterm storage of microorganisms Ultraviolet (UV) radiation (a) UV light is not terribly penetrating but is good for disinfecting surfaces and air (b) This is accomplished by a long-term exposure to UV light (c) On the down side.g. Ventilation requirements may also factor into the selection and use of certain chemical disinfectants used in this process. crevices and enclosures may shield organisms). type and configuration of item to be disinfected (fissures. UV light is damaging to human tissue as well as to many plastics Chemical Control Instruments or materials which cannot withstand sterilization in a steam autoclave or dryair oven can be sterilized with a gas such as ethylene oxide or a broad spectrum liquid chemical germicide. Chemical decontamination of surfaces may also be necessary for very large or fixed items. bacteria vs viruses). type of surfaces. contact time required for disinfection. including: o number and nature of microbes to be destroyed (e... whether the item is covered with soil which might inactivate the disinfectant. o o o o .Freezing (a) Freezing is employed to more completely stave off organismal deterioration (b) For organisms that survive the freezing process. purpose of treatment (e.g. Choice of a chemical germicide for use on contaminated equipment.
(weak disinfectant) (a) One type of commonly employed cationic detergent disinfectants are quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) (b) Problems with the use of quats as disinfectants include (i) Their inactivation by soaps (ii) Their inhibition by divalent cations (calcium and magnesium ions) (iii) Their inhibition by cotton and other porous organic substances (iv) Their inability to kill certain species of Pseudomonas (c) ³Quats´ can be mixed with another agent to overcome some of these problems and to increase their effectiveness. soaps are alkaline (pH greater than 7) (c) Soaps exert their antimicrobial effects in two ways (i) By harming bacteria that are sensitive to high pH's (ii) By removing pathogens from surfaces by cleaning the surface (degerming) Detergent (a) Detergents are synthetic surfactants (b) There are a variety of structural types of detergents (c) A detergent may be cationic (positively charged) or anionic (negatively charged) (d) Cationic detergents are better at killing bacteria than anionic detergents Quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) ± used to clean instruments that where used on skin. o o Surfactants (a) Surfactants are substances that are soluble in water but are able to dissolve lipids and act by reducing the surface tension of an object (b) In that way they are able to increase the solubility of lipids in water solutions (c) Surfactants additionally increase the ability to water solutions to wet. cost. move along or penetrate. pH. temperature. .. hardness of available dilution water. i. residual toxicity on items. culture systems. lipid surfaces (d) Examples of surfactants are soaps and detergents Soap (a) Soaps are sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids (b) Consequently.e.o toxicity to individuals. environment.
in this case iodine (c) Iodine tinctures may be employed as antiseptics Iodophors (a) Iodophors are organic compounds that slow the release of iodine (b) The iodophors additionally serve as surfactants. silver nitrate has been and increasingly is again used to treat the eyes of newborns to kill any Neisseria gonorrhea that may have been acquired during passage down the birth canal A common example is the treatment of ponds with copper sulfate as an antialgal.. in the form of bleach) or created within water by bubbling chlorine gas through the water (c) Note that chlorine is less effective in the presence of significant organic compounds (basically because the hypochlorite ion interacts with-oxidizes--organic compounds indiscriminately and thus is used up in the presence off excess organic compounds) Iodine (a) Iodine is often employed as a tincture or as an iodophor (b) A tincture is an alcohol solution of a substance. thus increasing penetration while simultaneously steadily supplying iodine over long periods (c) Betadine and Isodine are examples of iodophors ± for perio. skin.Heavy metals (a) (b) Various metals and metal salts are commonly employed to prevent microbial growth or kill microbes For example.e. etc« Alcohols (a) (b) (c) (d) Alcohols work best as 70 to 99% mixtures with water Alcohol-water mixtures are additionally more penetrating than pure alcohols Either ethanol or isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol may be employed for disinfecting Alcohols are especially appropriate for application to sites in which their . note that though effective at inhibiting algal growth Selenium compounds are effective antifungals (c) (d) Halogens (a) Halogens are found in column seven (VII) of the periodic table of elements (b) Two halogens are regularly employed as antimicrobials: iodine and chloride Chlorine and Hypochlorite ion (a) Drinking water is commonly disinfected using hypochlorite (b) Hypochlorite may either be added directly (i.
and ethylene oxides are alkylating agents cold sterilization ± using activated glutaraldehyde in a principle dip over night to kill all organisms.g. the oxygen released upon inactivation can help oxygenate deep wounds and thus kill strict anaerobe contaminants Alkylating agents (formaldehyde.. (weak) (b) Formaldehyde is employed to inactivate viruses and toxins to produce wholekilled vaccines and toxoid vaccines (whole-killed vaccines) (c) Glutaraldehyde is capable of sterilizing equipment. this allows it to penetrate all sorts of nooks and crannies (e) Ethylene oxide is employed to sterilize prepackaged laboratory equipment that is otherwise destroyed by heat (e.propensity to evaporate away is convenient (e. to disinfect skin prior to injection) (e) The drawback of alcohols is that they are not deeply penetrating nor capable of killing endospores or resistant vegative cells (f) Alcohols should not be applied to wounds since they can cause tissue damage Phenol and phenol derivatives (phenolics) (a) Phenol and their derivatives (called phenolics) are especially useful when disinfecting materials contaminated with organic materials (b) Lysol® employs phenolics (c) Some phenolics are mild enough for use as antiseptics while others are too harsh or otherwise dangerous to be employed on living tissue Oxidizing agents (hydrogen peroxide) (a) Hydrogen peroxide (HOOH) is a typical oxidizing agent (b) Note that hydrogen peroxide is not a highly effective antiseptic or disinfectant (c) This is because bacteria and body tissues contain enzymes (catalase) that inactivate hydrogen peroxide (d) On the other hand.g. glutaraldehyde. glutaraldehyde. plastic petri dishes) .. ethylene oxide) (a) Formaldehyde. though sterilization often requires many hours of exposure to effect (d) Ethylene oxide is a gaseous chemosterilizer that is especially useful due to its extraordinary penetrating power.
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