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Dependence of microbiologic test results of formaldehyde gas sterilization methods on the nature of the test material



Dependence of microbiologic test results of formaldehyde gas sterilization methods on the nature of the test material



Zentralblatt für Bakteriologie Mikrobiologie und Hygiene. Serie B Umwelthygiene Krankenhaushygiene Arbeitshygiene Praventive Medizin 184(2): 108-121



The efficiency of a formaldehyde gas sterilization procedure was evaluated with the aid of test pieces consisting of various materials. Both rigid and flexible tubes served as test pieces. The tubes were 75 cm long with an inner diameter of 1 mm and were sealed at one end. The bioindicators were placed inside the tubes close to the sealed end. Dried spores of Bacillus stearothermophilus adhering to linen threads served as test organisms. The test results varied according to the material of the test pieces and the thickness of their walls (see Table 1). In flexible tubes made of silicon rubber, all bioindicators became sterile, in tubes of stainless steel, all bioindicators exhibited test organisms that had survived. The findings for materials such as polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene, polyamide and polytetrafluorethylene ranged between these two extremes; the frequencies of bioindicators containing viable germs were 10, 55, 68 and 85%, respectively. Rigid and flexible tubes which had been sealed at both ends served to demonstrate that silicon rubber and polyvinyl chloride were highly permeable for formaldehyde and water vapour. Also the other plastic materials tested were permeable for formaldehyde and water vapour but longer exposure periods were needed to create conditions in the interior of the tubes that would result in a killing of the test organisms (see Fig 2). In this respect, polyamide exhibited a peculiar behaviour. The number of viable spores remained at the initial level for a long period before a decline took place. From the results of testing, it is concluded that test pieces must conform to the objects to be sterilized not only in their dimensions (length, inner diameter) but also in the characteristics of their material. The walls of the test pieces should not have a higher permeability for formaldehyde and water vapour than the material to be sterilized. The highest demands on the efficiency of formaldehyde gas sterilization procedures are those created by mental tubes and thick-walled flexible polytetrafluorethylene. Instruments and devices to be sterilized by a formaldehyde gas procedure should be preferentially made of materials which are sufficiently permeable for formaldehyde and water vapour as e.g. silicon rubber. Such gas-permeable components may considerably facilitate the sterilization of cavities which have a small lumen and are difficult to reach.

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Accession: 039764235

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PMID: 3113100


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