Sterilization refers to any process which kills or eliminates various forms of agents such as bacteria, fungi, virus, etc. present on a surface or a liquid content in a laboratory. Sterilization can be achieved through a number of procedures including high pressure, filtration, irradiation, etc. A sterile environment is necessary in most of the medical laboratory in order to avoid ruined samples and cloudy culture media. Various micro-organisms and transmissible agents are present on the surface of medical equipment and biological culture media in the laboratory and sterilization helps to make these equipment and media contaminant-free.
- Heat sterilizers: In heat sterilization, the equipment or culture media which are to be sterilized are placed in a steel container and exposed to high temperature. Various types of heat sterilizers include:
- Hot air oven
- Bunsen burner
- Glass bead strilizer
- Chemical sterilizers: Chemical sterilization involves the usage of a range of chemical agents for the purpose of sterilization. Various class of chemical agents used in the procedure are as follows:
- Alcohols: ethyl, isopropyl, etc.
- Aldehydes: formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, etc.
- Metallic salts
- Gases: ethylene oxide, betapropiolactone, etc.
- Radiation sterilizers: The gamma radiations are used to kill microorganisms present in various medical equipment and related products. The prime advantage of such sterilization process is that the media is available immediately after sterilization
- Filtration sterilizers: Filtration allows the elimination of microorganisms based upon their size. The most common type of filtration sterilization technique is membrane filtration in which contaminants larger than the pore size on the surface of the membrane is trapped. This method is mainly used for heat sensitive media.
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