The gamma sterilization process uses Cobalt 60 radiation to kill microorganisms on a variety of different products. Processing with gamma irradiation yields quick turnaround time, easily penetrating packaging and product, and is ideal for many types of materials.
The radioisotope cobalt 60 is the energy source for use in gamma irradiation with the irradiation process taking place in a specially designed cell. A key characteristic of gamma irradiation is the high penetration capability. This enables moderately dense or sealed products to be processed with relative ease and facilitates treatment of palletized product. The unit of absorbed dose is kiloGray, expressed as kGy. The absorbed dose is determined by product density, pack size, dose rate, exposure time and to some degree by plant design.
The gamma process can effectively sterilize a wide variety of products composed of different materials, with varying densities, configurations and orientations. Some examples of products processed include:
- Medical devices
- Combination drug/device products
- Animal husbandry
- Cosmetics and toiletries
- Horticultural supplies
Gamma Irradiation Processing for Medical Devices
The treatment of medical devices by gamma processing has been one of the principal methods of sterilization in the healthcare industry since the introduction of the concept of single use, sterile, disposable medical devices in the 1960s. This simple, proven process is safe, reliable, and highly effective at treating single-use medical devices. With the ability to penetrate products while sealed in their final packaging, gamma irradiation supports the manufacturing and distribution process by facilitating final packaged product as well as raw materials, whilst still ensuring full sterility of the product.