how to kill B. subtilis spores?

Nicholas Landau nlandau at eden.rutgers.edu
Thu Nov 30 12:24:38 EST 1995

chris michiels <chris.michiels at agr.kuleuven.ac.be> writes:

>We started recently working with B. subtilis spores, and have to plate 
>serial dilutions frequently. For vegetative bacteria, this is done with a 
>Drigalski spatula, that can be easily sterilized by immersion in ethanol. 
>However, B. subtilis spores are not killed in this way. Is there another 
>way to efficiently sterilize the spatula's (like chlorine?), or is 
>autoclaving the only safe solution?
>Thanks for any suggestions.

>Chris Michiels

Don't play soft with spores, man.  Use heat.  If you don't want to autoclave,
use a gravity oven set at 180C for three hours.  Spores are tough tough
tough.  I would not trust any chemical sterilization technique to get rid
of them.  Now, if you ignite the ethanol on the spatula, you may be able
to combust any spores present.  Generally, when I have worked with metal
tools, I have flamed them this way.  If you have a high concentration of
spores, this may not be sufficient.

The only other thing I might try, if heat is out of the question, is using
a strong UV light for a long period of time.

Good luck.

Nick Landau
Rutgers University
nlandau at eden.rutgers.edu

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