Sterilization is a process in which microorganism like bacteria, fungi and viruses, are killed. Traditionally this is achieved with high heat over an extended period of time. Other methods involve chemicals, irradiation and applying high pressure. Our alternative is using CO2 to destroy the microorganism. This was shown by J. Fages in 1996 who applied the technique on bones. Using CO2 has the advantage that it avoids the contamination or destruction of classical methods. The CO2 will dissolve in the lipid membrane of bacteria and puncture it. Typical clearances for bacteria and fungi are in the order of minus 6, meaning a destruction of a million to one, while viruses have a destruction of minus 3. The clearances can be improved by adding oxidating agents.
The engineer in this case has to create an extreme reliable process that will perform the same time over time again. It must also meet standards for cleaning, operability and validation.
Sterilizationis in use for bone cleaning and textile cleaning for hospitals. It can also been an asset when applying to food processes as such increasing the shelf-life of product. Currently this technique is still awaiting approval from authorities before it can be used commercially.