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Disinfection of heat-sensitive material by low-temperature steam and formaldehyde
  1. V. G. Alder,
  2. Anne M. Brown,
  3. W. A. Gillespie
  1. Bristol Royal Infirmary and University of Bristol


    Steam under subatmospheric pressure at temperatures below 90°C. rapidly killed nonsporing organisms after air had been removed by a high-vacuum pump. Most bacterial spores were killed but small proportions of the populations were very resistant. The destruction of spores was not logarithmic.

    The addition of formaldehyde vapour to the steam greatly increased its sterilizing power, with deep penetration into fabrics and destruction of spores. Penetration into wide tubes was good, but was poor in narrow tubes. Most fabrics, plastics, and instruments were unharmed. Low-temperature steam with formaldehyde is probably as efficient a sterilizing agent as ethylene oxide.

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