Air filtration is very important when it comes to steam sterilization in the laboratory setting. Aside from the common filtration method with the use of Pes syringe filters, air filtration is also important in order to give protection to the whole environment in the laboratory and the staff in it from any form of contamination.

The Function of Air Filtration

When it comes to autoclaves, air filtration is important for these two functions:

To be able to protect the environment against hazardous gases that may be present in an autoclave

To be able to protect the sterilized sample from any contamination from external factors

The Importance of Filtering Autoclave Air Outlets

Before any laboratory instrument or sample is sterilized, it is important to ensure that the air is clean and filtered out of any possible infectious and hazardous materials. As an example, the air contained in an autoclave may have a lot of medical waste that brings in toxins and viruses. If the air is not properly filtered before a biohazard is discharged, it could harm even the staff.

The Process of Air Filtration in Autoclaves

The whole process starts with the vacuum removing the air from the autoclave. When the filtered air from the chambers of the autoclave is removed, it is then released to the environment of the laboratory. This means that before the contents of the chamber are sterilized, air is already removed from the chambers through the vacuum.

However, there is a catch. The air from the chambers could potentially be highly contaminated and it can put the whole environment to danger. This is why there is a biohazard filter that blocks the microorganisms from going out the chambers of the autoclave. This is how air is ensured to be safe.

Additional Safety Measures

While filters are recommended as a method to block harmful microorganisms and bacteria from coming out the chambers, there are additional measures that one needs to take to ensure that there are no lapses.

Remember that the filter used blocks contaminated organisms from passing through. This means that the organisms stick to the filter, making the filter contaminated as well. With this being said, it is also important to sterilize the filter regularly.

There are users who do the filter sterilization as a necessary step in the whole cycle. Others dedicate specific programs during the post-sterilization phase. Moreover, there are labs who employ two filters for additional safety. This way, when one filter becomes too contaminated or it fails, there is a backup filter to still do the job.

Also, because of this issue of the filter being contaminated once harmful microorganisms are stuck on it, the filters are contained in a housing that can specifically address this issue. This housing acts like a smaller version of the autoclave. It has a temperature sensor, a steam trap, and a jacket. It does the sterilization of the filter so that it is ready to filter the air in the coming cycles.

In conclusion, air filtration in autoclaves is very important so you can effectively do another sterilization process such as those that use Pes syringe filters.