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PDA J Pharm Sci Technol. 2004 May-Jun;58(3):130-46.

Development of a sterilizing in-place application for a production machine using Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Production, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG, Ingelheim, Germany.


The use of steam in sterilization processes is limited by the implementation of heat-sensitive components inside the machines to be sterilized. Alternative low-temperature sterilization methods need to be found and their suitability evaluated. Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP) technology was adapted for a production machine consisting of highly sensitive pressure sensors and thermo-labile air tube systems. This new kind of "cold" surface sterilization, known from the Barrier Isolator Technology, is based on the controlled release of hydrogen peroxide vapour into sealed enclosures. A mobile VHP generator was used to generate the hydrogen peroxide vapour. The unit was combined with the air conduction system of the production machine. Terminal vacuum pumps were installed to distribute the gas within the production machine and for its elimination. In order to control the sterilization process, different physical process monitors were incorporated. The validation of the process was based on biological indicators (Geobacillus stearothermophilus). The Limited Spearman Karber Method (LSKM) was used to statistically evaluate the sterilization process. The results show that it is possible to sterilize surfaces in a complex tube system with the use of gaseous hydrogen peroxide. A total microbial reduction of 6 log units was reached.

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