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By Groups C & D

Filtration, Radiation and Ultrasonic
Filters are used to produce particle- and
pyrogen-free fluid, by removing pathogens
and toxic substances from liquid, not killing
Pyrogens are heat-stable breakdown
products of microbes which can produce
Solutions that are heat-sterilized will contain pyrogens.
Modern filters are composed of nitrocellulose
and work by electrostatic attraction and
physical pore size to retain organisms or
other particles. The resulting fluid should be

Filtration has been used a long time in
clarification of water and various drinks (e.g.
It is still used in some parts of the world to
purify drinking water.
Filtration techniques are also used to recover
very small numbers of organisms from very
large volumes of fluid (e.g. Legionella from
cooling tower water)
It can also be used as a method for
quantifying bacteria in fluids.
Radiation Techniques

Radiation, unlike filtration, kills
There are a few types; X-ray, Gamma
radiation, and Ultraviolet rays.
Generally, Radiation can kill bacteria and
it takes a higher dose to kill spores (sometimes
10x more powerful)
Prions are unnaffected
X-rays kill by producing free radicals, such as
hydroxyl radicals, from the liquid
These highly reactive radicals can break
covalent bonds in DNA, thereby killing the
However, Sulfhydryl-containing compounds, such as the
amino acid cysteine, can protect DNA from free-radical
Another mechanism is a direct hit on a
covalent bond in DNA, resulting in chain
X-rays kill vegetative cells readily, but spores
are remarkably resistant
This is due to their lower water content
X-rays are used in medicine for sterilization of
heat-sensitive items, such as sutures and
surgical gloves, and plastic items, such as
X-rays have higher energy and penetrating
power than UV radiation

Gamma Irradiation
Gamma irradiation energy is used to sterilize
large batches of small volume items
The killing mechanism involves the
production of free radicals, which can break
bonds in DNA.
Gamma irradiation energy is used in industry
with products such as needles, syringes,
intravenous lines, cannulas, catheters and

It can also be used for vaccines and to
prevent food spoilage.
Gamma radiation requires bulky shielding for
the safety of the operators
Irradiation can cause materials to deteriorate
and is thus not suitable for resterilization of

Ultraviolet Radiation
UV radiation kills microorganisms by inhibiting DNA
It also adds hydroxyl groups to nitrogenous bases in DNA
The greatest antimicrobial activity of UV light occurs at
250-260 nm, which is the wavelength region of maximum
absorption by the purine and pyrimidine bases of DNA.
Cells have repair mechanisms against UV-induced
damage that involve either cleavage of dimers in the
presence of visible light (photoreactivation) or excision of
damaged bases, which is not dependent upon visible
light (dark repair).

Ultraviolet irradiation is inefficient as a
The potential for damage to the cornea and
skin precludes wider use of ultraviolet
However, it is used in hospitals to kill airborne
organisms, such as in operating rooms when
not in use, or inhibiting growth of bacteria in
water in complex apparatus such as auto-
analyzers and in air in safety hoods in
virology laboratories.

Ultrasonic Waves
Ultrasonic waves are sometimes used in
conjunction with Ultraviolet Irradiation
It is a dry procedure
During the exposure cycle, the object is not
immersed in a liquid solution
It is commonly used in mass production or
assembly line production, and is referred to
have a doubtful efficiency