17 Feb

Sporocides and Sanitizers

Some disinfectants are known as sterilants or sporocides which means that they destroy all microbial life including endospores.  An exmple is ethylene trioxide.  This gas is used to sterilize objects such as petri dishes and medical devices.  These objects are heat sensitive and must be sterilized with something other than heat and steam.  Sanitzers are chemical agents that reduce microbial life to tolerable levels but do not destroy all microbes.  These agents are used in the food industry to treat cooking equipment like dishes and utensils.  If a particular agent only inhibits the growth of bacterial cells but does not kill them, we say that the agent is bacteriostatic.  If agents such as this are removed the bacterial growth would resume.  Agents that kill bacterial cells are termed bacteriocidal.  Agents can also be specific to the type of microorganism.  There are bacteriocides, fungicides, and viricides designed to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses.