How Are Autoclaves Used In Microbiology?

How Are Autoclaves Used In Microbiology?
Authored By Tom Toi

Autoclaves are used widely in microbiology, but there is a lot of confusion about what they do and why they're needed. In this article, we'll describe the role autoclaves play in microbiology and how to choose one for your lab.

If you’d like to learn more about this, feel free to continue exploring this topic below as we discuss the following:

  • What Is An Autoclave And How Does It Work?
  • What Types Of Autoclaves Are There?
  • What Is The Use Of Autoclaves In Microbiology?
  • What Are The Benefits Of Using Autoclaves In Microbiology?
  • Fun Facts About Autoclaves

What Is An Autoclave And How Does It Work?

An autoclave is a device that uses heat and pressure to sterilise equipment. The process starts when heat is added under pressure which kills any bacteria on items placed inside before they go into the chamber for final processing through high-pressure steam at 250°F (121°C).

The high-pressure hot air or steam is capable of reaching all surfaces and cracks inside containers that are sealed shut during treatment.

Autoclaves are commonly found in hospitals and laboratories because they have been proven to be an important part of maintaining sterility. 

What Types Of Autoclaves Are There?

Autoclaves come in all shapes and sizes but for the most part, they are either large industrial models or smaller hand-held units that use water pressure as a way to clean items like needles more effectively.

It's important when selecting which type of autoclave you purchase that you choose one with features such as adjustable temperature settings, self-diagnostic cycles, safety timers (for working near hot surfaces), or unique sealing technology using steam heat alone instead of boiling liquid air or steam primarily used for cooling purposes only. 

There are many different types of autoclaves available on the market today depending upon your needs. Generally, you will find two main categories: gravity flow and vacuum pressure types. 

The first type is usually considered less expensive but the second one provides more even heating throughout which leads to better performance overall. Vacuum pressure types might cost more than their counterparts on average over time.

However, you will need fewer replacement parts with the vacuum pressure types due to minimal wear from exposure heat variations within the chamber during cycles not requiring temperature adjustments.

How Autoclaves Used Microbiology

What Is The Use Of Autoclaves In Microbiology?

The autoclave has many functions such as destroying unwanted microorganisms through high-temperature pressurised steam, killing viruses with temperature alone, and deactivating chemical disinfectants when necessary after they have served their purpose during use at an infected site.

Because of this, the autoclave is recognised as the most powerful sterilisation method available to microbiologists. 

In microbiology, the main purpose of autoclaves is to sterilise and disinfect objects which is important for the prevention and control of infectious diseases. Microbiologists typically employ these machines in order to sterilise instruments before using them on living tissue or during surgery.

By cooking everything up together inside this heated box, microorganisms, a type of living organism that ranges from bacteria to viruses, are destroyed by heat. The heat used under pressure kills all microorganisms within minutes without leaving behind harmful byproducts as bleach does. 

The sterile environment created by the autoclave will not only protect against contamination from outside sources but ensures any organisms inside cannot reproduce themselves while they're waiting to be studied - so their behaviour won't change overnight!

However, the most important takeaway is that autoclaves not only serve a practical purpose but also have important implications on health safety.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Autoclaves In Microbiology?

Autoclaves are widely used in microbiology because of the wide range of benefits that they offer. Some of these benefits include the following:

  • It is fast because it can kill bacteria in just minutes which means you don't have to spend much time waiting for your items to be cleaned.
  • Using an autoclave doesn’t require any additional products so there's less hassle than using bleach tablets or hydrogen peroxide solution instead.
  • Autoclaves preserve sterilised objects by removing water, oxygen, other gases or chemicals from the object before it is sealed with another cover material like foil.
  • It is a cost-effective method of waste disposal that saves money by preventing expensive repairs caused by corrosion damage from other means of cleaning such as chemicals or detergent.
  • It prevents infection from spreading as a result of contamination by pathogens without damaging surfaces like metal or PVC plastics as well as many different textiles such as cloth.

How Autoclaves Used Microbiology

Fun Facts About Autoclaves

The general history of autoclaves can be traced back to the mid-1800s when they were used in place of boiling a medical patient's clothes. This is because this process helped kill bacteria and viruses that could have been present on their clothing or skin.

It was noted that autoclaves were invented in 1879 by Charles Chamberland who was a French chemist studying how microorganisms affect food spoilage while cooking at high temperatures. T

hey were developed as an alternative for vaccines during epidemics aside from killing bacteria present on skin or clothing. 

The introduction of autoclaves also led hospitals to start replacing linen with disposable items like towels, sheets, gowns and even surgical masks over time - saving them from having these things constantly re-washed by hand which would only spread germs around more!


This blog post has provided some insight into the use of autoclaves in microbiology. We hope it helps you with your research or understanding of this topic and that we've answered any questions you may have had about them so far! 

If you are looking to purchase an autoclave, MES Medical Equipment Services has been Australia’s leading provider of autoclaves and other medical equipment and equipment services since 1952. 

We were originally established to provide electro-medical products to healthcare professionals across the country. 

Our products range from sterilisation, dental systems, dental imaging, electrosurgical equipment, medical consumables,  dental lasers, and equipment service maintenance.

We sell only top of the line equipment and machines produced by the leading manufacturers in the world. Our integrity and standards are your guarantees!

If you are searching for the best autoclave supplier in Australia, then look no further than Medical Equipment Services Australia

For all your medical and dental supply requirements, please call us today on 1300 342 013 or contact us through our website.

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