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J AOAC Int. 2006 Sep-Oct;89(5):1373-97.

Modification to the AOAC Sporicidal Activity of Disinfectants Test (Method 966.04): collaborative study.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs, Microbiology Laboratory, Environmental Science Center, Ft. Meade, MD, USA.


In an effort to improve AOAC Method 966.04, the Sporicidal Activity of Disinfectants Test, selected modifications to the procedure were evaluated in a collaborative study. Method 966.04 is used to generate efficacy data to support the product registration of sporicides and sterilants. The method is a carrier-based test that provides a qualitative measure of product efficacy against spores of Bacillus subtilis and Clostridium sporogenes. The use of garden soil extract and the lack of standard procedures for the enumeration of spores and neutralization of the test chemicals have been considered problematic for many years. The proposed modifications were limited to the B. subtilis and hard surface carrier (porcelain penicylinder) components of the method. The study included the evaluation of a replacement for soil extract nutrient broth and an establishment of a minimum spore titer per carrier, both considered crucial for the improvement and utilization of the method. Additionally, an alternative hard surface material and a neutralization confirmation procedure were evaluated. To determine the equivalence of the proposed alternatives to the standard method, 3 medium/carrier combinations, (1) soil extract nutrient broth/porcelain carrier (current method), (2) nutrient agar amended with 5 microg/mL manganese sulfate/porcelain carrier, and (3) nutrient agar amended with 5 microg/mL manganese sulfate/stainless steel carrier were analyzed for carrier counts, HCI resistance, efficacy, quantitative efficacy, and spore wash-off. The test chemicals used in the study represent 3 chemical classes and are commercially available antimicrobial liquid products: sodium hypochlorite (bleach), glutaraldehyde, and a combination of peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Four laboratories participated in the study. The results of the spore titer per carrier, HCI resistance, efficacy, and wash-off studies demonstrate that amended nutrient agar in conjunction with the porcelain is comparable to the current method, soil extract nutrient broth/porcelain. The nutrient agar method is simple, inexpensive, reproducible, and provides an ample supply of high quality spores. Due to the current use of porcelain carriers for testing C. sporogenes, it is advisable to retain the use of porcelain carriers until stainless steel can be evaluated as a replacement carrier material for Clostridium. The evaluation of stainless steel for Clostridium has been initiated by the Study Director. Study Director recommendations for First Action revisions are provided in a modified method.

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