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  Section: Microbiology Methods » Destructions of Microorganisms
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Moist and Dry Heat

Destructions of Microorganisms
  Physical Antimicrobial Agents
    Moist and Dry Heat
      Moist Heat
      Dry Heat
      The Autoclave

In order to sterilize a given set of materials, the appropriate conditions of heat and moisture must be used. Moist heat coagulates microbial proteins (including protein enzymes), inactivating them irreversibly. In the dry state, protein structures are more stable; therefore, the temperature of dry heat must be raised much higher and maintained longer than that of moist heat. For example, in a dry oven, 1 to 2 hours at 160 to 170°C is required for sterilization; however, with steam under pressure (the autoclave), only 15 minutes at 121°C may be needed. The choice of heat sterilization methods then depends on the heat sensitivity of materials to be sterilized.


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