Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 19, pp 8341–8350 | Cite as

Synergism between high hydrostatic pressure and glutaraldehyde for the inactivation of Staphylococcus aureus at moderate temperature

  • Marriam Yamin
  • Ancelmo R. Souza
  • Bianca G. Castelucci
  • Juliana G. Mattoso
  • Carlos Francisco Sampaio BonafeEmail author
Biotechnological products and process engineering


The sterilization of transplant and medical devices should be effective but not detrimental to the structural properties of the materials used. In this study, we examined the effectiveness of chemical and physical agents for inactivating Staphylococcus aureus, a gram-positive bacterium and important cause of infections and biofilm production. The treatment conditions in this work were chosen to facilitate their subsequent use with sensitive materials. The effects of temperature, high hydrostatic pressure, and glutaraldehyde disinfectant on the growth of two strains of S. aureus (ATCC 25923 and BEC 9393) were investigated individually and/or in combinations. A low concentration of glutaraldehyde (0.5 mM), high hydrostatic pressure (300 MPa for 10 min), and moderate temperature (50 °C), when used in combination, significantly potentiated the inactivation of both bacterial strains by > 8 orders of magnitude. Transmission electron microscopy revealed structural damage and changes in area that correlated with the use of pressure in the presence of glutaraldehyde at room temperature in both strains. Biofilm from strain ATCC 25923 was particularly susceptible to inactivation. The conditions used here provided effective sterilization that can be applied to sensitive surgical devices and biomaterials, with negligible damage. The use of this experimental approach to investigate other pathogens could lead to the adoption of this procedure for sterilizing sensitive materials.


Biofilms Glutaraldehyde High hydrostatic pressure Nosocomial infections Staphylococcus aureus Sterilization 



The authors thank Prof. Dr. Paulo P. Joazeiro and Adriane C. S. Sprogis for their support during the electron microscopic analysis and for helpful discussions and Stephen Hyslop for editing the English of the manuscript.

Funding information

This study was supported by Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES, grant no. PROEX0232084) and the São Paulo State Research Foundation (FAPESP).

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2018_9270_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (503 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 502 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Protein Thermodynamics, Departament of Biochemistry and Tissue BiologyInstitute of Biology, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Electron Microscopy CenterInstitute of Biology, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil

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