Do you know what an autoclave is? Do you know how an autoclave works? Did you know that there are certain considerations necessary for the proper sterilization of equipment?
Subject: How does an autoclave work?
Diagram for an autoclave
Sterilization of both materials and contaminated media is an essential process in a laboratory for in vitro cultures.
This sterilization is usually done with moist heat in a device called an autoclave.
What is an autoclave?
The autoclave is a commonly used instrument in a laboratory for in vitro cultures. Essentially, an autoclave (Fig. 1) is a container that exposes the material to be sterilized to temperatures above the boiling point of water, which is achieved by increasing pressure.
How an autoclave works
The complete sterilization process of an autoclave has different phases:
- Purge Phase: The heating resistor heats water from the bottom of the boiler, producing steam that will forces air up through the purge valve. This phase ends when the sterilization temperature is reached.
- Sterilization Phase: Once the purge valve is closed and the previously selected sterilization temperature is reached, the sterilization process begins.
- Discharge Phase: After the sterilization process ends, the heating resistor turns off in order to stop producing steam. Boiler pressure and the temperature begin to drop gradually.
Some considerations for proper sterilization of materials
- For the sterilization of culture mediums to be effective, the temperature must be achieved throughout the liquid for the time selected. Since the heat transfer in fluid in containers is made from the outside in, it is clear that the effectiveness of the process must take into account the amount of liquid.
- In general, large and small containers should not be sterilized together. In each case the selection of temperature and time must correspond to the size of containers.
- Containers with hermetic seals must be introduced in the autoclave with their stoppers somewhat open, in order to facilitate the entry of the steam during the process. Once the autoclave has been emptied after the sterilization, these containers can be completely sealed.
Empty receptacles need more sterilization time than the receptacles with liquid in their interior.
Providers of Autoclaves
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