Decontamination & cleaning

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Decontamination & cleaning

Especially in pandemic times, the topic of hygiene and clean work has become a special focus of society. Decontamination and cleanliness help us avoid serious illnesses or material and even financial damage.

However, before we look at cleanliness itself, we must first be clear on what is meant by contamination:

Definition of contamination
The process by which something becomes unclean or toxic, or the state of producing undesirable or hazardous substances.

Definition of contaminant
A substance that makes something unclean; something that contaminates.
There are several forms of contamination, including:

  • Environmental contamination (pollution)
  • Food contamination
  • Pharmaceutical contamination
  • Agricultural contamination
  • Radioactive contamination
  • Chemical contamination
  • Biological contamination
  • Contaminated samples
  • Contaminated evidence

Now that we have defined what contamination is, we can start thinking about how to eliminate it. Each contamination is different and requires a different approach. However, all decontamination has one thing in common.

Definition of decontamination
The process of making a person, object, or area safe by absorbing, destroying, neutralizing, rendering harmless, or removing chemical or biological agents or removing radioactive material found in the environment.

The desired level of decontamination depends on the level of cleanliness you are aiming for. As an example, consider dirty hands: I can get rid of the dirt by washing them. However, if I want them to be germ-free, I will need to disinfect them afterwards.

Decontamination methods
There are several methods of decontamination. In the following text we will cover the following techniques:

  • Physical cleaning
  • Ultrasonic cleaning
  • Disinfection
  • Sterilization
  • Thermal disinfection
  • Chemical disinfection

Here we briefly present some methods:

Physical Cleaning
Cleaning is a process of physically removing contaminants, including some microorganisms, and in the case of contamination is the first and essential step before effective disinfection or sterilization can be performed. Cleaning does not necessarily remove all microorganisms, even if a surface looks cleaner. Cleaning equipment and work surfaces is best done with a dish detergent and warm water. It is also important to make sure that the cleaning agent used does not damage equipment and work surfaces.

Ultrasonic cleaning
Ultrasonics is a liquid-based cleaning method recommended for some equipment. It is based on cavitation (rapid formation and disintegration of small bubbles in a liquid). This method is routinely used in healthcare, laboratory, body art and beauty care environments, but is suitable whenever dirty, reusable items need to be cleaned. The items to be treated must be immersed, and the ultrasonic treatment is performed in a container with a lid, where openings and cavities can also be cleaned. Ultrasonic cleaners should be cleaned at least twice a day and kept clean and dry overnight. The choice of cleaners should be recommended by the manufacturer and should be appropriate for the intended use.

The goal of disinfection is to reduce the number of microorganisms present to a level where infection is unlikely. In practice, disinfection can destroy or inactivate many or all pathogenic microorganisms, but not spores. It is important to understand that the success of disinfection is highly dependent on the number of microorganisms initially present. Therefore, physical cleaning is an important prerequisite for effective disinfection.

Unlike disinfection, this is an absolute term that refers to the destruction of all microorganisms, including spores.

Heat treatment is the most effective routine means of eliminating all microorganisms, including those carried by blood, and primarily involves the use of autoclaves (pressurized steam sterilizers). Baking ovens and dry heat ovens achieve higher temperatures that can kill microorganisms, but may not provide the required level of heat input and treatment control as steam sterilizers and are therefore less reliable. There is also evidence that dry heat and boiling systems are rarely maintained or not regularly tested to ensure that they provide consistent sterilization conditions.
Important methods include autoclaving, dry heat, and thermal cleaning devices.

Chemical disinfection
Some chemical disinfectants have been tested for efficacy against blood-borne viruses in the presence of whole blood or plasma (the liquid component of blood) to simulate conditions of use. Proteins in blood and other bodily fluids may be protective against the virus and, in some cases, reduce the effectiveness of chemical disinfectants. Effective testing of disinfectants can therefore be difficult, but it is reasonable to assume that any preparation that is effective against HBV (hepatitis B virus) will also be effective against other blood-borne viruses because of its robustness.

Some of the most commonly used chemical decontaminants are:

  • Powder or liquid detergent
  • Bleach
  • Alcohol 60-80%
  • Halogenated tertiary amines or quaternary ammonium compounds
  • Chlorhexidine

A selection of our WHO recommended agents for decontamination in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here:

Product code Product name CAS number
191086 Ethanol absolute (USP, BP, Ph.Eur.) pharma grade 64-17-5
141339 Glycerol (USP, BP, Ph. Eur.) pure, pharma grade 56-81-5
141077 Hydrogen Peroxide 33% w/v (110 vol.) stabilized
(USP, BP, Ph. Eur.) pure, pharma grade
141090 2-Propanol (USP, BP, Ph. Eur.) pure, pharma grade 67-63-0

Nucleic Acid Decontamination
The occurrence of nucleic acid cross-contamination in the laboratory, leading to false-positive results from diagnostic samples, is extremely problematic. Despite all the precautions taken to minimize or even avoid nucleic acid cross-contamination, it can still occur.

There are a variety of products on the market. However, most of them are toxic or corrosive to your work materials.
What can be the sources of nucleic acid contamination?
There are many sources that can contribute to contamination, for example, ventilation, autoclave, lab water, chemicals, solutions and buffers, reagents, or simply the lab worker. A single nucleic acid molecule can destroy entire experiments and evaluations.

A clean working method and associated decontamination of nucleic acids not only serves to work cleanly, but also directly improves safety, as recombinant molecules such as plasmids, transposons, PCR products, etc. should not be released into the environment.

Treating surfaces with disinfecting agents alone is not sufficient, as nucleic acids are often not removed at all or are removed insufficiently. Other agents contain harmful or corrosive substances. Therefore, we would like to introduce our DNA/RNA ExitusPlus system.

DNA/RNA-ExitusPlus™ and RNase -ExitusPlus™ are fast and effective ready-to-use agents for the removal of enzymatic and molecular biological contaminants from surfaces/pipettes and laboratory equipment. Decontamination begins immediately upon spraying/applying to a contaminated surface. The advantage of DNA/RNA and RNase-ExitusPlus™ is that it is neither toxic to humans nor corrosive to laboratory materials. Competing products use hazardous and corrosive agents and can cause health damage as well as corrosion of surfaces. Protect yourself and your environment with the ExitusPlus™ family of products.

The features of ExitusPlus™ products can be summarized as follows:

  • Effective decontamination
  • Removes DNA
  • Removes RNA
  • Removes RNases
  • Non-toxic
  • Non-Harmful
  • Not corrosive
  • Ready to use
  • Easy to use
  • Quick

Product code Product name
A7600 Autoclave-ExitusPlus™ (6 x 1 L = 6 L)
A7089 DNA/RNA-ExitusPlus™
A7409 DNA/RNA-ExitusPlus™ IF
A9411 ExitusPlus™ Activity Test
A7153 RNase-ExitusPlus™

You can find more detailed information in our product documentation:

Decontamination in cell cultures
Cell cultures are particularly susceptible to contamination due to the nutrient media, which are attractive to many microorganisms. In most cases, this means the growth and spread of undesirable germs, fungi, bacteria, etc. Again, prevention is the decisive factor in avoiding contamination and ensuring consistently reproducible results.
In addition to the agents already described above, such as ethanol, propanol, etc., we at PanReac AppliChem offer products that have been developed specifically for cell culture and prevent contamination. They prevent contamination of water baths and incubators as well as work areas. You can find the small overview in the following table:

Product code Product name
A9390 Aquabator-Clean™ (100X)
A5230 Incubator-Clean™
A5219 Incuwater-Clean™

In the following table we present again in summary all our products which can be used for cleaning or decontamination:

Product code Product name CAS Number
A7004 AppliClear-Water
A9390 Aquabator-Clean™ (100X)
A7600 Autoclave-ExitusPlus™ (6 x 1 L = 6 L)
503574 DERQUIM + Universal Detergent, LIQUID
502603 DERQUIM LA 11 Slightly alkaline SOLID
502604 DERQUIM LA 12 Alkaline SOLID
502605 DERQUIM LA 13 Alkaline with detergents SOLID
502606 DERQUIM LA 14 Slightly alkaline LIQUID
502607 DERQUIM LA 15 Alkaline LIQUID
502608 DERQUIM LA 21 Acid, with phosphoric acid LIQUID
502609 DERQUIM LA 22 Acid, with citric acid LIQUID
502600 DERQUIM LM 01 Alkaline LIQUID
502601 DERQUIM LM 02, phosphates free LIQUID
502602 DERQUIM LM 03 Alkaline, Phosphates free LIQUID
503468 DERQUIM SALT (Sodium Chloride lumps) 7647-14-5
A7089 DNA/RNA-ExitusPlus™
A7409 DNA/RNA-ExitusPlus™ IF
147196 Ethanol 70% denatured with IPA, MEK and Bitrex pure 64-17-5
192695 Ethanol 70% v/v (BP) pharma grade 64-17-5
202695 Ethanol 70% v/v food grade 64-17-5
147195 Ethanol 96% denatured with IPA, MEK and Bitrex pure 64-17-5
201085 Ethanol 96% v/v (F.C.C.) food grade 64-17-5
631085 Ethanol 96% v/v (Ph.Eur, BP, USP) GMP - IPEC grade 64-17-5
131085 Ethanol 96% v/v (Reag. USP, Ph. Eur.) for analysis, ACS 64-17-5
141085 Ethanol 96% v/v (USP, BP, Ph.Eur.) pure, pharma grade 64-17-5
251085 Ethanol 96% v/v for clinical diagnosis 64-17-5
361085 Ethanol 96% v/v for UV, IR, HPLC 64-17-5
212800 Ethanol 96% v/v partially denatured technical grade 64-17-5
147194 Ethanol 99.8 % denatured with IPA, MEK and Bitrex pure 64-17-5
631086 Ethanol absolute (Ph. Eur, BP, USP, JP) GMP - IPEC grade 64-17-5
131086 Ethanol absolute (Reag. USP, Ph. Eur.) for analysis, ACS, ISO 64-17-5
191086 Ethanol absolute (USP, BP, Ph.Eur.) pharma grade 64-17-5
481086 Ethanol absolute dry (max. 0.02% water) 64-17-5
251086 Ethanol absolute for clinical diagnosis 64-17-5
221086 Ethanol absolute for HPLC gradient 64-17-5
A8075 Ethanol absolute for molecular biology (untaxed) 64-17-5
361086 Ethanol absolute for UV, IR, HPLC 64-17-5
212801 Ethanol absolute partially denatured technical grade 64-17-5
141086 Ethanol absolute pure 64-17-5
A9411 ExitusPlus™ Activity Test
125513 Hydrogen Peroxide 10% w/w for analysis 7722-84-1
121076 Hydrogen Peroxide 30% w/v (100 vol.) for analysis 7722-84-1
141076 Hydrogen Peroxide 30% w/v (100 vol.) stabilized pure 7722-84-1
131077 Hydrogen Peroxide 33% w/v (110 vol.) (Reag. USP) for analysis, ACS, ISO 7722-84-1
141077 Hydrogen Peroxide 33% w/v (110 vol.) stabilized (USP, BP, Ph. Eur.) pure, pharma grade 7722-84-1
147145 Hydrogen Peroxide 35% pure 7722-84-1
142660 Hydrogen Peroxide 6% w/v (20 vol.) stabilized (BP) pure, pharma grade 7722-84-1
A5230 Incubator-Clean™
A5219 Incuwater-Clean™
131885 1-Propanol (Reag. USP, Ph. Eur.) for analysis, ACS 71-23-8
A0634 1-Propanol for analysis 71-23-8
361885 1-Propanol for UV, IR, HPLC 71-23-8
631090 2-Propanol (Ph. Eur, BP, USP-NF) GMP - IPEC grade 67-63-0
131090 2-Propanol (Reag. USP, Ph. Eur.) for analysis, ACS, ISO 67-63-0
141090 2-Propanol (USP, BP, Ph. Eur.) pure, pharma grade 67-63-0
145618 2-Propanol 70% v/v pure 67-63-0
A3465 2-Propanol BioChemica 67-63-0
361090 2-Propanol for HPLC 67-63-0
221090 2-Propanol for HPLC gradient 67-63-0
A3928 2-Propanol for molecular biology 67-63-0
211090 2-Propanol technical grade 67-63-0
161090 2-Propanol, 99.7% for synthesis 67-63-0
A7153 RNase-ExitusPlus™
145881 Sodium Hydroxide micropearls pure 1310-73-2
141929 Sodium Hydroxide pearls (USP-NF, BP, Ph. Eur.) pure, pharma grade 1310-73-2
201687 Sodium Hydroxide pellets (E-524, F.C.C.) food grade 1310-73-2
631687 Sodium Hydroxide pellets (Ph. Eur, BP, USP, JP) GMP - IPEC grade 1310-73-2
131687 Sodium Hydroxide pellets (Reag. USP) for analysis, ACS, ISO 1310-73-2
141687 Sodium Hydroxide pellets (USP-NF, BP, Ph. Eur.) pure, pharma grade 1310-73-2
211687 Sodium Hydroxide pellets technical grade 1310-73-2
LZ3402 Sodium Hydroxide solution 25% w/w pure, pharma grade 1310-73-2
171690 Sodium Hydroxide solution 30% w/v 1310-73-2
144320 Sodium Hydroxide solution 30% w/w pure, pharma grade 1310-73-2
Z44320 Sodium Hydroxide solution 30% w/w pure, pharma grade 1310-73-2
126682 Sodium Hydroxide solution 32% w/w for analysis 1310-73-2
176682 Sodium Hydroxide solution 32% w/w for nitrogen determination 1310-73-2
216682 Sodium Hydroxide solution 32% w/w technical grade 1310-73-2
122666 Sodium Hydroxide solution 32% w/v for the determination of nitrogen 1310-73-2
141220 Sodium Hydroxide solution 40% w/w pure 1310-73-2
121593 Sodium Hydroxide solution 40% w/v for analysis 1310-73-2
171220 Sodium Hydroxide solution 40% w/w for the determination of nitrogen 1310-73-2
141571 Sodium Hydroxide solution 50% w/v pure 1310-73-2
142404 Sodium Hydroxide solution 50% w/w pure 1310-73-2
211921 Sodium Hypochlorite solution 10% w/v technical grade 7681-52-9
213322 Sodium Hypochlorite solution 13% w/v technical grade 7681-52-9
212297 Sodium Hypochlorite solution 5% w/v technical grade 7681-52-9