what is the principle involved in autoclave ?

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Bhavani Prasad.V's picture


Autoclaving is one of the technique used in moist heat sterilization. The equipment used is called as Autoclave.

The principle behind the working of an Autoclave is that- The higher the pressure created inside the autoclave, the higher would be the attainable temperature inside it.

The boiling point of water at normal atmospheric pressure is 100oC.

When the free-flowing steam at a temperature of 100oC is subjected under pressure of 1 atmosphere above the sea-level pressure i.e., 15 pounds pressure per square inch, the temperature inside the autoclave happens to rise up to 121oC, which is an usual and common parameters employed in the moist heat sterilization.

Ref:- Pg:207; Pharmaceutical Microbiology by Ashutosh Kar.


Bhavani Prasad.V

Sirisha Pingali's picture

Principle involved in Autoclave is Moist heat sterilization. It causes coagulation of cell protiens at a temperature lower than hot air oven. At the point of condensation steam liberates thermal energy equal to its heat of vapourization. This amounts to 524 cals at 121oC. So autoclaving is mostly done at this temperature for a period of 15-20 mins under 15 lb pressure. As the temperature increases, steam gets energized increasing its penetration capability. However this process does not kill pyrogens. Ref: http://microbiologyon-line.blogspot.com/2009/08/autoclaving-real-sterili... accessed on Jan 23rd 2011.

Sirisha Pingali


Viswanadha Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.


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