How does moist heat inactivate microorganisms?

Feb 19, 2015
Book chapter - Steam Sterilization: A Practitioner’s Guide (Ch.01)
Author: Moldenhauer, Jeanne.

Chapter summary


WHAT DO WE MEAN BY MOIST HEAT STERILIZATION?

COMPARISON OF MICROBIAL SENSITIVITY

MECHANISMS OF INACTIVATION

  - Vegetative Cells
  - Bacterial Spores

      -Bacterial Spores Defined
      -Spore Characteristics
      - Spore Formation
      - Mineralization
      - The Transition from Spore to Vegetative Cell
      - Thermal Injury to Spores
      - Dehydration
      - Demineralization
      - Adaptation

Bacterial cells can be affected by their environment. Moist heat sterilization can be used to inactivate the microorganisms by dehydration, mineralization/demineralization, or adaptation. Within the cells, proteins are the most important heat sensitive compounds. Several mechanisms have been postulated to account for their stability. Some believe that they are intrinsically heat stable. Others theorize that there may be stabilizing substances present in the spore that allow for heat resistance. Lastly, some believe that the loss of water content is the key factor to protein stability (Pflug 1999; Russell 1993; Warth 1978).

Courtesy of DHI Publications.

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