Autoclaving has been used in laboratories for decades. They have also been used in the health and beauty industry to guarantee scrupulously clean, germ-free equipment. All bacteria, fungi, viruses and spores are destroyed. Likened to a pressure cooker, the laboratory autoclave is important in any laboratory. This is because it plays such a necessary role in sterilization. They are used to sterilize medical instruments as well as glass- and plastic bottles.
All Organisms are Killed
Products used in the medical- or pharmaceutical field require control of microbial levels during handling, and autoclaving is just one of the many effective options used to achieve microbial limit testing. High pressure steam is used to achieve sterilization.
If the material to be sterilized can withstand the heat, autoclaving is the preferred method of sterilization. The steam in the autoclave, at a pressure of approximately 15 psi or pounds per square inch and at a temperature of 121C will kill all organisms in about 15 minutes.
Achieving high moisture content is important for effective autoclaving. The more moisture present, the more heat can be carried. This makes steam such an effective carrier of heat. Steam results in the effective killing of cells as well as the coagulation of proteins.
Short Spurts of High Temperatures Preferred
With laboratory autoclaves, processes conducted at short periods and at high temperatures are preferred over lower temperatures for longer times. Standard temperature and pressures are 115 Deg C at 10 psi, 121Deg C at 15 psi and 132 Deg C at 27 psi. The processing time is measured after the autoclave reaches normal operating conditions.
The type of autoclave you use will be determined by the type of instruments you want to sterilize. For instance if you sterilize Hollow Load Type A & B instruments, the autoclave needs to run a Type B Cycle sterilizer. Class B autoclaves are typically used by veterinary surgeons, dentists, tattooists and plastic surgeons.
Autoclaves are generally capable of sanitizing all types of loads. Some laboratories prefer to use a variety of autoclaves for the different load types. They do this to eliminate cross contamination.
There are many professional manufacturers of autoclaves and sterilizers. They are used for various applications and they vary in size and application.
Spore-Testing to ensure 100% Sterility
When used properly, autoclaves are hugely effective and also safe. Choosing the right autoclave for your lab will depend on frequency of use, load diversity as well as load volumes. The choice of autoclaves today effectively meets the variety of challenges found in laboratories.
Apart from proper temperature, prevention of trapped air is crucial for sterility. Users need to know this and so much more. Using an autoclave in the laboratory isn’t for amateurs because it requires adhering to strict operational requirements. Not only that, autoclave sterility monitoring needs to be conducted too and each container used needs to be spore tested.