by Ed Barillas, Staff Writer
Sterilization is defined as not being able to produce or being incapable to produce offspring. Not being able to produce seed, produce little or no vegetation, a sterile land or reproductive structures.
Drying or freezing can kill many types of bacteria and causes others to become inactive as well as heat which can also aid in causing inactivity as heat to a certain point will kill all bacteria.
There are chemical and physical antiseptics out there that can prevent infection and decay by destroying microorganisms. These antiseptics are used for food preservations, medicine and the sterilization of water supplies to name a few.
There is an English surgeon named Joseph Lister who created the use of antiseptics to treat wounds when he developed a carbolic acid solution in 1868 and since then there have been major antiseptics now used that include bichloride of mercury, alcohol, boric acid, iodine, hypochlorites and bchlorine.
There are many drugs that cannot be given orally because they are decomposed by the digestive process rendering them useless so these drugs need to be given by injection, intramuscularly, subcutaneously or intravenously. It is important to note that such injected solutions are free from toxic agents and microorganisms. Others included sterile eye drops, implants, powders, eye ointments to be applied to body cavities or wounds and any preparation or solution to be used in a surgical operation like sutures, surgical dressings and ligatures to name a few.
Some of the best ways to sterilize these items is in a enclosed chamber or autoclave. The material is distributed into its final containers and these are sealed to exclude microorganisms. The containers are placed in the autoclave and treated to saturated steam, under pressure at a temperature of 250F for 15 minutes. Stable substances when heated are sterilized at higher temperatures at which a shorter heating period is sufficient, as lower temperatures require longer sterilizations periods.
There are some substances like pharmaceuticals that cannot be sterilized with steam so dry heat at temperatures of 284F must be used with exposed times ranging from one to four hours. Another technique is gaseous sterilization in which the substance is exposed to a vapor or gas like substance such as ethylene oxide and is most commonly used in foods, medical equipment and biological. Radiation sterilization basically entails exposure to ultraviolet, high-energy electrons or gamma radiation and its used is limited to the production of sterile apparatuses and medicaments on a wide scale.
The last method for sterilization is not really a sterilization process where the ingredients of the pharmaceuticals are available on sterile form and merely compounded without microbial contamination.
Injections are oily or aqueous solutions, emulsions or suspensions and are prepared by normal methods with care taken to remove all extraneous particulate matter and these injections must be sterilized by one the methods shown above. Some injections are not stable and so are prepared at the time of use with the addition of sterile water to the sterile drug.
Eye ointments, eye drops and eye lotions are all prepared by the general methods but must me sterilized before use and the pH balance of such is important as there must be an ideal value of 7.4 and the value of greatest therapeutic stability. There are pellets and implants that are prepared either by fusion and molding of the drug or by compression of the sterile crystals.
So take these all into account if you are considering baking and getting into home brewing. There are very nasty things out there that can seriously hurt you or even kill you if you inject them, so play it smart and be safe and most importantly, do your homework.