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One food sterilization protocol, commercial sterilization , uses heat at a temperature low enough to preserve food quality but high enough to destroy common pathogens responsible for food poisoning, such as C. botulinum . Because C. botulinum and its endospores are commonly found in soil, they may easily contaminate crops during harvesting, and these endospores can later germinate within the anaerobic environment once foods are canned. Metal cans of food contaminated with C. botulinum will bulge due to the microbe’s production of gases; contaminated jars of food typically bulge at the metal lid. To eliminate the risk for C. botulinum contamination, commercial food-canning protocols are designed with a large margin of error. They assume an impossibly large population of endospores (10 12 per can) and aim to reduce this population to 1 endospore per can to ensure the safety of canned foods. For example, low- and medium-acid foods are heated to 121 °C for a minimum of 2.52 minutes, which is the time it would take to reduce a population of 10 12 endospores per can down to 1 endospore at this temperature. Even so, commercial sterilization does not eliminate the presence of all microbes; rather, it targets those pathogens that cause spoilage and foodborne diseases, while allowing many nonpathogenic organisms to survive. Therefore, “sterilization” is somewhat of a misnomer in this context, and commercial sterilization may be more accurately described as “quasi-sterilization.”

  • What is the difference between sterilization and aseptic technique?

Other methods of control

Sterilization protocols require procedures that are not practical, or necessary, in many settings. Various other methods are used in clinical and nonclinical settings to reduce the microbial load on items. Although the terms for these methods are often used interchangeably, there are important distinctions ( [link] ).

The process of disinfection inactivates most microbes on the surface of a fomite by using antimicrobial chemicals or heat. Because some microbes remain, the disinfected item is not considered sterile. Ideally, disinfectant s should be fast acting, stable, easy to prepare, inexpensive, and easy to use. An example of a natural disinfectant is vinegar ; its acidity kills most microbes. Chemical disinfectants, such as chlorine bleach or products containing chlorine, are used to clean nonliving surfaces such as laboratory benches, clinical surfaces, and bathroom sinks. Typical disinfection does not lead to sterilization because endospores tend to survive even when all vegetative cells have been killed.

Unlike disinfectants, antiseptic s are antimicrobial chemicals safe for use on living skin or tissues. Examples of antiseptics include hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol . The process of applying an antiseptic is called antisepsis . In addition to the characteristics of a good disinfectant, antiseptics must also be selectively effective against microorganisms and able to penetrate tissue deeply without causing tissue damage.

Questions & Answers

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to live inside the host body, reproduction n destroy the immune system of host body.
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replication is a term related to generation of new DNA from parental DNA.
Rashmi
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toxins released inside the cell or a body is endotoxin n toxins released outside the cell or a body is exotoxin.
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the study of viruses
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identification n application of microorganisms
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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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