Research Article
1 June 1979

Comparison of the efficacy of steam sterilization indicators


Twenty-one commercially available chemical steam sterilization indicators were processed in an empty autoclave for various times at temperatures between 240 and 270 degrees F (ca. 116 and 132 degrees C). The time required to reach a sterilized reading at each temperature was plotted on a semilogarithmic time-temperature plot and compared with the time-temperature sterilization curve for Bacillus stearothermophilus. Five of the indicators had time-temperature kinetics similar to those of B. stearothermophilus, but three of these overestimated the effect of processing. Two of the indicators overestimated the effect of processing and were less sensitive to temperature changes when was B. stearothermophilus. Thirteen of the indicators had time-temperature curves that crossed the B. stearothermophilus plot. One indicator produced such ambiguous results that no determinations could be made with it. Out of 21 indicators tested, only 2 appear to be capable of accurately integrating the time-temperature effect at temperatures between 240 and 270 degrees F. The other indicators should be used only after careful analysis of their suitability for use at a given temperature.

Formats available

You can view the full content in the following formats:

Information & Contributors


Published In

cover image Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume 37Number 6June 1979
Pages: 1113 - 1117
PubMed: 485144


Published online: 1 June 1979


Request permissions for this article.



Metrics & Citations



  • For recently published articles, the TOTAL download count will appear as zero until a new month starts.
  • There is a 3- to 4-day delay in article usage, so article usage will not appear immediately after publication.
  • Citation counts come from the Crossref Cited by service.


If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. For an editable text file, please select Medlars format which will download as a .txt file. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click Download.

View Options

Figures and Media






Share the article link

Share with email

Email a colleague

Share on social media

American Society for Microbiology ("ASM") is committed to maintaining your confidence and trust with respect to the information we collect from you on websites owned and operated by ASM ("ASM Web Sites") and other sources. This Privacy Policy sets forth the information we collect about you, how we use this information and the choices you have about how we use such information.
FIND OUT MORE about the privacy policy