Microwave sterilization

Paul N Hengen pnh at ncifcrf.gov
Mon Dec 16 16:47:34 EST 1996

Sebastian Bunka (bunka at i112pc09.vu-wien.ac.at) wrote:

> There are commercial microwave sterilizer on the market (seen some time ago
> dunno where...).
> With the kitchen microwaves it is NOT possible!

I don't understand why one microwave generator would sterilize and
another not. Can you explain this further?

> Done the following experiment (at microbiology institute vet. school
> hannover, germany):
> Plstic tube filled with a suspension of 10E5 colony forming units of
> Staph. aureus, dried the tube and microwaved for 10 minutes at 600 watts.

Did you try the same experiment with cells not dried, but suspended in
broth? or with a lid on the tube to generate some steam pressure?

> Last week we had an insect (Ear creeper roughly translated from german)..

An earwig???? gross! Remind me never to eat at your house :-(

> at home in the microwave (one with a rotating dish). This insect was running
> along the outer wall of the ofen. All times in the direction of the rotating
> dish! 3x 5 minutes doesn't hurt it. It escaped next day ;-))

Leave it to a scientist to test this kind of thing. "Hey, 5 minutes didn't pop
the earwig...I wonder if 10 minutes would? If I reverse the turntable, will he
run in the opposite direction? Gee, I wonder what it would be like to put a
firecracker inside a frog's mouth?" :^P Yuk!

Hmmm. I wonder what the microwaves would do to an inner-city cockroach from the
US. Maybe the roach would like the microwaves or mutate or something? Anyway, I
think eventually with the exposure to microwaves it would dry up and die. If
nothing else that kind of experiment could be used to create a new munchie that
we could call "roach crispy snacks" :-o

* Paul N. Hengen, Ph.D.                           /--------------------------/*
* National Cancer Institute                       |Internet: pnh at ncifcrf.gov |*
* Laboratory of Mathematical Biology              |   Phone: (301) 846-5581  |*
* Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center|     FAX: (301) 846-5598  |*
* Frederick, Maryland 21702-1201 USA              /--------------------------/*
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