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Concept: Autoclave


The lack of readily available sterilization processes for medicine and dentistry practices in the developing world is a major risk factor for the propagation of disease. Modern medical facilities in the developed world often use autoclave systems to sterilize medical instruments and equipment and process waste that could contain harmful contagions. Here, we show the use of broadband light-absorbing nanoparticles as solar photothermal heaters, which generate high-temperature steam for a standalone, efficient solar autoclave useful for sanitation of instruments or materials in resource-limited, remote locations. Sterilization was verified using a standard Geobacillus stearothermophilus-based biological indicator.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Ecology, Developed country, United Kingdom, Developing country, Autoclave, Human Development Index


Deficiencies in the sterile processing of medical instruments contribute to poor outcomes for patients, such as surgical site infections, longer hospital stays, and deaths. In low resources settings, such as some rural and semi-rural areas and secondary and tertiary cities of developing countries, deficiencies in sterile processing are accentuated due to the lack of access to sterilization equipment, improperly maintained and malfunctioning equipment, lack of power to operate equipment, poor protocols, and inadequate quality control over inventory. Inspired by our sterile processing fieldwork at a district hospital in Sierra Leone in 2013, we built an autonomous, shipping-container-based sterile processing unit to address these deficiencies. The sterile processing unit, dubbed “the sterile box,” is a full suite capable of handling instruments from the moment they leave the operating room to the point they are sterile and ready to be reused for the next surgery. The sterile processing unit is self-sufficient in power and water and features an intake for contaminated instruments, decontamination, sterilization via non-electric steam sterilizers, and secure inventory storage. To validate efficacy, we ran tests of decontamination and sterilization performance. Results of 61 trials validate convincingly that our sterile processing unit achieves satisfactory outcomes for decontamination and sterilization and as such holds promise to support healthcare facilities in low resources settings.

Concepts: Patient, Hospital, Surgery, Hygiene, Sterilization, Autoclave, Sierra Leone, Sierra Leonean leone


To evaluate the effects of repeated autoclave sterilization cycles on surface topography of conventional nickel-titanium ( NiTi ) and titanium nitride ( TiN )-coated rotary instruments.

Concepts: Titanium, Sterilization, Autoclave, Nitrides, Titanium nitride, Body piercing


The sterilization of nanoparticles for biomedical applications is one of the challenges that must be faced in the development of nanoparticulate systems. Usually, autoclave sterilization cannot be applied because of stability concerns when polymeric nanoparticles are involved. This paper describes an innovative method which allows to obtain, using a single step autoclave procedure, the preparation and, at the same time, the sterilization of self-assembling nanohydrogels (NHs) obtained with cholesterol-derivatized gellan and hyaluronic acid. Moreover, by using this approach, NHs, while formed in the autoclave, can be easily loaded with drugs. The obtained NHs dispersion can be lyophilized in the presence of a cryoprotectant, leading to the original NHs after re-dispersion in water.

Concepts: Ultraviolet, Nanoparticle, Sol-gel, Colloid, Method, Sterilization, Autoclave, Hyaluronan


Short indicator RNA sequences (<100 bp) persist after autoclaving and are recovered intact by molecular amplification. Primers targeting longer sequences are most likely to produce false positives due to amplification errors easily verified by melting curves analyses. If short indicator RNA sequences are used for virus identification and quantification then post autoclave RNA degradation methodology should be employed, which may include further autoclaving.

Concepts: DNA, Scientific method, Protein, Virus, RNA, Logic, Land degradation, Autoclave


Hydrogen peroxide-based, low-temperature sterilization has been shown to do less damage to medical instruments than steam autoclaves. However, low-temperature systems are more expensive to run. Higher costs need to be balanced against savings from reduced repair costs to determine value for money when choosing how to sterilize certain instruments, which are able to be reprocessed in either system.

Concepts: Economics, Investment, Price, Sterilization, Autoclave, Compulsory sterilization, Store of value


Effective sterilization of reusable instruments contaminated by Creutzfeldt⁻Jakob disease in dental care is a crucial issue for public health. The present cross-sectional study investigated how the recommended procedures for sterilization were implemented by French dental practices in real-world settings. A sample of dental practices was selected in the French Rhône-Alpes region. Data were collected by a self-questionnaire in 2016. Sterilization procedures (n = 33) were classified into 4 groups: (1) Pre-sterilization cleaning of reusable instruments; (2) Biological verification of sterilization cycles—Monitoring steam sterilization procedures; (3) Autoclave performance and practitioner knowledge of autoclave use; (4) Monitoring and documentation of sterilization procedures—Tracking and tracing the instrumentation. Answers were provided per procedure, along with the global implementation of procedures within a group (over 80% correctly performed). Then it was verified how adherence to procedure groups varied with the size of the dental practice and the proportion of dental assistants within the team. Among the 179 questionnaires available for the analyses, adherence to the recommended procedures of sterilization noticeably varied between practices, from 20.7% to 82.6%. The median percentages of procedures correctly implemented per practice were 58.1%, 50.9%, 69.2% and 58.2%, in Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively (corresponding percentages for performing over 80% of the procedures in the group: 23.4%, 6.6%, 46.6% and 38.6%). Dental practices ≥ 3 dental units performed significantly better (>80%) procedures of Groups 2 and 4 (p = 0.01 and p = 0.002, respectively), while no other significant associations emerged. As a rule, practices complied poorly with the recommended procedures, despite partially improved results in bigger practices. Specific training regarding sterilization procedures and a better understanding of the reasons leading to their non-compliance are needed.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cross-sectional study, Prion, Dentistry, Autoclave, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, Formal verification, Dental assistant


Cannulated surgical instruments may retain biologic debris after routine cleaning and sterilization. Residual debris after cleaning is assumed to be sterile; however, there is no experimental basis for this assumption. The purpose of this study was to determine the sterility of retained biodebris found within cannulated surgical instruments after autoclave sterilization.

Concepts: Surgery, Surgical instrument, Hygiene, Sterilization, Autoclave, Waste autoclave


The aim of this study was to compare plasma progesterone (P4) concentrations in nonlactating, multiparous Holstein cows (n = 24) treated with 2 types of intravaginal implants containing either 1.0 or 1.9 g of P4 either at the first use or during reuse of the implants after sanitizing the implant by autoclave or chemical disinfection. In a completely randomized design with a 2 × 3 factorial arrangement and 2 replicates, every cow underwent 2 of 6 treatments. Two sources of P4 [controlled internal drug release (1.9 g of P4) from Zoetis (São Paulo, Brazil), and Sincrogest (1.0 g of P4) from Ourofino (Cravinhos, Brazil)] and 3 types of processing, new (N), reused after autoclave (RA), and reused after chemical disinfection (RC), were used. After inducing luteolysis to avoid endogenous circulating P4, the cows were randomized in 1 of 6 treatments (1.9 g of N, 1.9 g of RA, 1.9 g of RC, 1.0 g of N, 1.0 g of RA, and 1.0 g RC). Cows were treated with the implants for 8 d and during this period blood samples were collected at 0, 2, 12, 24, 48, 72, 96, 120, 144, 168, and 192 h. Statistical analyses were performed using Proc-Mixed and the mean ± standard error of the mean P4 concentrations were calculated using the Proc-Means procedures of SAS 9.4 (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). No interaction between treatments was observed. Comparing types of implant, average P4 concentrations during treatments were greater for 1.9 g than 1.0 g (1.46 vs. 1.14 ± 0.04 ng/mL). When types of processing were compared, average P4 concentrations did not differ between autoclaved and new inserts (1.46 vs. 1.37 ± 0.05 ng/mL; respectively), but both were greater than chemically disinfected implants (1.09 ± 0.04 ng/mL). Within 1.9-g P4 inserts, P4 concentrations from autoclaved implants were greater than new, which were greater than chemically disinfected (1.67 ± 0.06 vs. 1.49 ± 0.07 vs. 1.21 ± 0.05 ng/mL; respectively). For 1.0-g P4 implants, P4 concentrations from autoclaved did not differ from new, but both were greater than chemically disinfected (1.20 ± 0.08 vs. 1.24 ± 0.06 vs. 0.97 ± 0.05 ng/mL; respectively). In conclusion, the mean plasma P4 concentration in nonlactating Holstein cows was greater for 1.9 than 1.0 g of P4 and regardless of the type of implant, the autoclaving process provided greater circulating P4 in relation to chemical disinfection, and similar or greater P4 concentrations compared with a new implant.

Concepts: Statistics, Concentration, Chemistry, Milk, Menstrual cycle, Arithmetic mean, Sanitation, Autoclave


Several experimental evidences show that prions are non-conventional pathogens, which physical support consists only in proteins. This finding raised questions regarding the observed prion strain-to-strain variations and the species barrier that happened to be crossed with dramatic consequences on human health and veterinary policies during the last 3 decades. This review presents a focus on a few advances in the field of prion structure and prion strains characterization: from the historical approaches that allowed the concept of prion strains to emerge, to the last results demonstrating that a prion strain may in fact be a combination of a few quasi species with subtle biophysical specificities. Then, we will focus on the current knowledge on the factors that impact species barrier strength and species barrier crossing. Finally, we present probable scenarios on how the interaction of strain properties with host characteristics may account for differential selection of new conformer variants and eventually species barrier crossing.

Concepts: Proteins, Protein, Human, Microbiology, Protein folding, Prion, Observation, Autoclave