Microbial Death Rates

Microbial death is the term used to describe the permanent loss of a microorganism's ability to reproduce under normal environmental conditions. A technique for the evaluation of an antimicrobial agent is to calculate the microbial death rate. When populations of particular organisms are treated with heat or antimicrobial chemicals, they usually die at a constant rate.

The effectiveness of antimicrobial treatments is influenced by the number of microbes that are present. The larger the population, the longer it takes to destroy it. The different variations of certain microorganisms influence death rate because, for example, endospores are difficult to kill.

Environmental influences, such as the presence of blood, saliva, or fecal matter, inhibits the action of chemical antimicrobials. Time of exposure to heat or radiation is also important. Many chemical antimicrobials need longer exposure times to be effective in the death of more resistant microorganisms or endospores.

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