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According to the Oxford Dictionary, sterilisation refers to the process of making something free from bacteria or other living microorganisms. Effective sterilisation techniques are essential for maintaining a sterile environment within many industries, such as sterilising healthcare, laboratory and life science equipment.
So, what methods of sterilisation are there?
The 2 most common forms of sterilisation include creating a hot and dry or a hot and wet environment.
• DRY HEAT (Bake/Flame) Leading to Dry Heat Oxidation of the microorganism
• WET HEAT (Steam Steriliser Autoclave) Leading to Steam Coagulation of the micro-organisms
However, both these forms of sterilisation can lead to damage of the instrument, especially when dealing with complicated or technologically advanced equipment. Hence, a form of low-temperature sterilisation is required such as creating a Plasma-low temperature Chemical reaction. Plasma sterilises via a process called ‘Oxidation’. A chemical reaction is created in which all microorganisms are deactivated. One type of plasma is called Hydrogen Peroxide. The advantages of using Hydrogen Peroxide are:
• No chemical residues
• Safe to handle
• Environmentally safe
• Short Aeration time
Ethylene Oxide Chemical reaction
Ethylene Oxide is a toxic gas that leaves no residue on items it contacts. Therefore, ethylene oxide is used as a surface disinfectant in hospitals and the medical equipment industry to replace steam in the sterilisation of heat-sensitive tools and equipment, such as disposable plastic syringes.
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