Pressurised steam is an extremely effective sanitising tool. When created under the right conditions and monitored correctly to ensure that it reaches key thresholds, it can be relied on to carry out the most thorough process of cleansing- sterilisation.
Sterilisation is the only process that fully eliminates, denatures or otherwise rendered ineffective all microorganisms and other types of microscopic life. This is important because they have the potential to cause illness when introduced to the human body. It’s for this reason that pressurised steam is so important and valuable for keeping facilities and tools fit for use across a range of diverse industries. Even though steam is not the only method used for sterilisation, it is among the most commonly used.
The Basics Of Steam Sterilisation
According to the industry publication Pharmaceutical Engineering, some of the key benefits that make steam sterilisation a common choice for addressing the need for sterility in medical and pharmaceutical environments are as follows:
- Steam is easy to control and produce
- Water, which is the source of steam, is widely available
- Water is not a toxic nor otherwise dangerous substance
Even though the steam used in sterilisation is heated to the point where it may cause serious injury if it is made contact with, the tools that are used to produce it and contain it are advanced enough to ensure that the steam sterilisation process is generally safe.
While it is true that heat is the underlying factor that leads to successful sterilisation when steam is used, the steam itself is responsible for facilitating this process. Items can be exposed to treatment at a reduced time frame and a lower temperature than would otherwise be possible. The use of steam is a way of ensuring effective contact between the sterilisation medium and the items that need to be treated.
The Rise Of Steam As A Powerful Sterilisation Tool
The start of steam sterilisation can be traced as far back as the late 19th century. A specialist publication known as Medical Device And Diagnostic Industry explained, Charles Chamberland (a french microbiologist) took a key leadership role in a project that would eventually lead to the creation of the autoclave. This device offers a reliable and safe environment for using pressure. This is achieved through the use of steam. This was in order to sterilise items that must be free of any microorganism or other type of microscopic life before being used for their intended purpose.
The initial development of the autoclave was in line with a major shift in the scientific principles that accelerated the latter half of the 19th century, this being the widespread acceptance of germ theory. Germ theory states that microorganisms which are too small for humans to see, are the vector for infectious disease. Prior to this, the dominant theory was called miasma theory, which theorised that air from a variety of rotting materials was the cause of infectious disease.
Ensuring Consistent Steam SterilisationSteam sterilization requires careful monitoring in terms of pressure, heat and other factors. This is to ensure that complete and total treatment of the items that need to be cleaned is achieved. Get in contact with the team at Testo NZ today to learn more about our range of pressure data logging solutions, such as the Testo 190 designed for the pharmaceutical industry and the Testo 191 for food production.