Biology Question #1893

Loubelle I. Depita, a 17 year old female from Koronadal City, South Cotabato, Philippines asks on February 4, 2004,

Why is sterilizing & using alcohol effective against microorganism?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on February 13, 2004

Alcohol, heat, and other methods of sterilizing usually work by destroying the cell walls of bacteria and other microorganisms. This would be like ripping them open and spilling their guts out, so it kills them. Heat also works by denaturing proteins. In other words, the heat makes them break or unfold and so they do not function properly and the single cell organism dies.

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