Uses of bacteriostatic and sterile water
The quality of water for everyday use is often taken for granted. If you work in a laboratory, however, you will be very conscious about the need for water to be free from all forms of impurities to reduce the risk of an invalid result, which can negatively impact research outcomes.
Critical to life and quickly becoming a scarce resource, water is rarely found in unadulterated form. For medical research, sterile water is important because it limits the risk of contamination, which can invalidate laboratory studies.
What is the meaning of sterile water?
Sterile water is important in medical, pharmacological, chemical, and industrial processes. It is a clear, colorless, and odorless liquid, contains solute but not the same quantity as the human body, making it a hypotonic solution.
Sterilization may release pyrogens because it destroys bacteria leading to its cell breakdown and release of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) or endotoxins. Sterilization is achieved when water is boiled in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and the water is saved in sterilized containers.
What is non-pyrogenic sterile water?
Non-pyrogenic sterile water is water that is free of fever-producing proteins, (bacteria and their metabolic products), also known as pyrogens. They are substances (usually of biological origin) that cause fever when administered intravenously. The most common pyrogens are Endotoxins, which are lipopolysaccharides (LPS) produced by Gram-negative bacteria. The release of LPS from bacteria takes place after the breakdown of the cell, which may occur as a result of sterilization. The next paragraph explains how pyrogens work.
Pyrogens may be present in sterile water since the sterilization process doesn’t remove microorganisms but deactivates them. Endotoxins are resistant to sterilization processes. Distillation is an effective and reliable method for removing endotoxin from contaminated water samples, by boiling and collecting the condensed vapor in an endotoxin-free vessel. Large LPS molecules don’t vaporize but remain in the heating vessel.
Can sterile water expire?
Sterile water by itself doesn’t expire. However, what remains a cause for concern is the plastic container used to store sterile water. Commonly used containers are fabricated from a specially formulated polyvinyl chloride (PL 146 Plastic) that can expire and will eventually leach chemicals into the water (due to its porosity), which could alter the composition and affect the “sterility” of the water. Remember that water is only sterile until it is opened. Also, do not store any unused portion of Sterile Water.
What is Sterile Water used for?
Sterile water is available in different forms and shouldn’t be used interchangeably. Its uses are:
Sterile Water for Injection, USP: It is only for diluting or dissolving drugs for intravenous, intramuscular, and subcutaneous injection, after being made isotonic by the addition of solute
Sterile Water for Irrigation is used for cleaning all open wounds such as minor cuts and scrapes without putting patients at risk of infections.
Sterile Water for Inhalation is used in humidifier reservoirs for the delivery of low-flow oxygen therapy and the preparation of inhalation solutions.
It is used for manufacturing dialysis solutions.
Bacteriostatic Water for Injection is sterile water that contains one or more suitable antimicrobial preservatives (benzyl alcohol), which prevent the growth of bacteria in the vial. It is used for parenterally administered drugs or solutions.
It is useful for laboratory research.