Biology

Types of sterilization

What does sterilization mean?

The sterilization is the action of removing any possible life of microbes, bacteria, fungi or viruses of any tool for any particular use . It is a process that is used in the food industry, in chemical laboratories, in the pharmaceutical industry and in all areas of medicine.

Sterilization: three ways

There are different types of sterilization, although broadly there are three main definitions:

-Sterilization by physical methods:

It is one that is carried out using heat or radiation that is capable of eliminating all contaminating traits from any surface. Among the methods with heat there are those that use moist heat, using steam as a sterilizing agent, since it is capable of overcoming a metallic resistance that the materials that are sterilized have, and the dry heat method, which is it carries out propagating an air that does not have the reach of humid heat but that sterilized at temperatures above one hundred and twenty degrees can achieve a similar efficiency.

To take into account adequate sterilization, it is key to regulate both the time and the temperature, since some materials require a certain amount of time at a certain temperature and others need different patterns.

On the other hand, it is also possible to sterilize by radiation, which is capable of causing the death of microorganisms in an absolute way. Radiation can be ionizing, that is, generating poisonous substances for bacterial metabolism; ultraviolet, which is not too penetrating but attacks the surface directly; or it can be a range, which, when passing through any surface, is able to sterilize even closed products in a hermetic and safe way. The latter method is very popular in the pharmaceutical and food industry.

-Sterilization by chemical methods:

It is one of the most effective systems, although its modus operandi means that some materials, such as food, are not capable of using it. Working using micro-pesticide products that eliminate all kinds of traces of microorganisms by poisoning regardless of the intervention or not of the heat.

Some of the most widely used biocides are, for example, bleach, which is present in almost all commercial disinfectants and which, despite its contraindications, continues to be one of the most widely applied sterilizing products.

-Sterilization by mechanical methods:

It is the one that is carried out using  market filters that are capable of retaining microorganisms. Some also combine filtration with the adsorption method , to make the process even more effective. Mechanical sterilization is a broadly ineffective system. However, to sterilize liquids it can be a viable solution, since an effective filtering agent would allow contaminating bacteria to be trapped in it and not continue the path of the fluid.

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