2015 Volume 20 Issue 1 Pages 11-18
We have been investigating an advanced sterilization system that employs active oxygen species (AOS). We designed the sterilization equipment, including an evacuation system, which generates AOS from pure oxygen gas using ultraviolet irradiation, in order to study the conditions necessary for sterilization in the system’s chamber. Using Geobachillus stearothermophilus spores (106 CFU) in a sterile bag as a biological indicator (BI) in the chamber of the AOS sterilization apparatus, we examined the viability of the BI as a function of exposure time, assessing the role of the decompression level in the sterilization performance. We found that the survival curves showed exponential reduction, and that the decompression level did not exert a significant influence on the survival curve. Subsequently, we investigated the sterilization effect as influenced by the spatial and environmental temperature variation throughout the chamber, and found that the sterilization effect varied with position, due to the varying environmentaltemperature in the respective areas. We confirmed that temperature is one of the most important factors influencing sterilization in the chamber, and estimated the temperature effect on the distribution of atomic oxygen concentration, using the quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) method with fluorocarbon thin film prepared by radio frequency sputtering.