Event Title

Capabilities and Limitations of Automated Pressure Cookers for Sterilization

Faculty Advisor

David Bollivar

Graduation Year

2018

Location

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

21-4-2018 2:00 PM

End Date

21-4-2018 3:00 PM

Description

Previously, it has been demonstrated that pressure cookers have the capability to sterilize laboratory and medical materials to the same standard as medically approved autoclaves. The question is whether widely sold automated pressure cookers, also known as InstantPots, can do the same. A 12-quart, Gourma brand InstantPot was used to test this question. Chemical indicator strips, designed to test maximum pressure and temperatures of autoclaves, were used during each InstantPot pressure cook cycle. Additionally, Escherichia coli cultures and heat-resistant bacterial spore samples were used to test the effectiveness of sterilization. A variety of run times and water levels were tested throughout. The chemical indicator tests suggest that the InstantPot can effectively sterilize its contents under certain settings. Furthermore, there was no evidence of E. coli growth after the pressure cook cycle. However, there was still growth of spores after pressure cooking, indicating that the pot does not reach the necessary temperature and pressure to kill some heat-resistant life. For this reason an InstantPot is not an adequate replacement of an autoclave in the medical field, but may have value in microbiology classrooms where autoclaves are not accessible or affordable.

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Apr 21st, 2:00 PM Apr 21st, 3:00 PM

Capabilities and Limitations of Automated Pressure Cookers for Sterilization

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Previously, it has been demonstrated that pressure cookers have the capability to sterilize laboratory and medical materials to the same standard as medically approved autoclaves. The question is whether widely sold automated pressure cookers, also known as InstantPots, can do the same. A 12-quart, Gourma brand InstantPot was used to test this question. Chemical indicator strips, designed to test maximum pressure and temperatures of autoclaves, were used during each InstantPot pressure cook cycle. Additionally, Escherichia coli cultures and heat-resistant bacterial spore samples were used to test the effectiveness of sterilization. A variety of run times and water levels were tested throughout. The chemical indicator tests suggest that the InstantPot can effectively sterilize its contents under certain settings. Furthermore, there was no evidence of E. coli growth after the pressure cook cycle. However, there was still growth of spores after pressure cooking, indicating that the pot does not reach the necessary temperature and pressure to kill some heat-resistant life. For this reason an InstantPot is not an adequate replacement of an autoclave in the medical field, but may have value in microbiology classrooms where autoclaves are not accessible or affordable.