high pressure sterilization

Ronan.Okennedy Ronan.Okennedy at UCG.IE
Fri Sep 23 18:37:00 EST 1994

>Then why do hospitals use high pressure steam autoclaves to
>sterilize surgical instruments?  These boilers have been around
>for umteen years and they supposedly kill just about any
>bacterial pathogen. Maybe its the combination of the heat
>and the pressure? You can get heat without pressure although
>with these devices pressure is a byproduct of heat. I
>also think the moisture in these devices has something to
>do with it. Somebody out there must have a definitive
>answer to this issue/question????
Taking up the strand of deep sea organisms again. Bugs appear to grow quite
happily and are highly active around deepsea hydrothermal vents (400atm
250-300oC)in microbial mats. I think the state of h2O (superheated steam)
is of importance to killing bacteria. I'm not a chemist or physicist but
the isn't  killing efficincy based more on Arrenius equ and so is dependant
on pressure and temperature.Anyway there is a good section in" Principles
of Fermentation Technology" PF Stanbury and A Whittaker on sterilization
which explains this better than I can ( I haven't got a copy to hand at the

Ronan O'Kennedy
Ronan.Okennedy at bodkin.ucg.ie
Fermentation Technology
Department of Microbiology
University College

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