Decontamination of Microbial Media Plates

Decontamination of media plates in microbiology is crucial to prevent contamination from unwanted microorganisms that could interfere with the intended experiments or analyses. 

Decontamination is a process that removes or destroys contamination from objects so they are safe to handle, use, or discard. In microbiology, decontamination is necessary to prevent contamination of cultured organisms. 

Decontamination is important in a lab when hazardous chemical, biological, or radioactive materials are used. It prevents cross contamination and accidental exposures. 

Decontamination typically involves sterilizing the media plates either by autoclaving or using chemical agents like bleach or ethanol to kill any microorganisms present on the surface. This ensures that only the target microorganisms introduced for experimentation or analysis grow on the plates, allowing for accurate results and interpretations.

Decontamination is a three-part process that involves cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization.

Decontamination Procedure for Media Plates


To sanitize dishes, you can add 20 ml of Clorox Disinfecting Bleach2 to 5 L of water. Then, immerse the items in the solution for two minutes. Finally, rinse the items and let them air dry.


Standard protocol requires the use of autoclaves to sterilize petri dishes. Autoclaves use high heat and pressure to effectively kill the full range of microorganisms.


Disinfection uses a liquid chemical to eliminate virtually all pathogenic microorganisms, with the exception of bacterial spores. Effectiveness is influenced by the kinds and numbers of organisms, the amount of organic matter, the object to be disinfected, and chemical exposure time.

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Resource Person: Heba Awadallah

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