114 Chapter 5 Control of Microbial Growth

Table 5.2 Using Heat to Control Microorganisms


Characteristics and Typical Uses


Fast, reliable, and inexpensive method to destroy most microbes. Unreliable for killing endospores. Can be used to treat drinking water.


Significantly decreases the numbers of heat-sensitive microorganisms, including spoilage microorganisms and pathogens (except sporeformers). Milk and juices are routinely pasteurized.

Pressurized steam

Achieves temperatures above 100°C, which is necessary to destroy endospores. Used to sterilize surgical instruments and other items that can be penetrated by steam. Also used to produce canned foods.

Dry heat

High temperatures for long lengths of time can be used to sterilize items. Flame is used to sterilize bacteriological loops. Ovens are used to sterilize glassware and items that are not readily penetrated by steam.

steam that reaches a temperature of 121 °C, sustained for 15 minutes, is the only heat treatment that reliably kills endospores.

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