Biofilms on Environmental Surfaces: Evaluation of the Disinfection Efficacy of a Novel Steam Vapor System

Liyan Song, PhD, Jianfeng Wu, PhD, Chuanwu Xi, PhD



Environmental surfaces in health care settings are often contaminated by microorganisms, and biofilms can develop on the surfaces in these settings. Steam vapor technology is of potential use for disinfection of biofilms on the environmental surfaces.



We tested the disinfection efficacy of a thermal-accelerated nanocrystal sanitation (TANCS)-equipped steam vapor technology against biofilms through disinfecting biofilms developed by 4 bacterial strains—Escherichia coli, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus—on an identical test surface (ie, polycarbonate) and biofilms developed by E coli on 4 different test surfaces: polycarbonate, rubber, stainless steel, and ceramics.


Our data show that a 3-second steam treatment rapidly killed each biofilm tested (>99.95 % killing efficiency). For biofilms developed on different surfaces, 3-second steam treatment achieved 99.95% killing of E coli biofilms developed on different surfaces. Compared with chemical disinfection, steam treatment for <1 second [equaled] a similar level of biofilm disinfection as provided by incubation with 10-ppm sodium hypochlorite (bleach) for 10-20 minutes of contact time.



Our data suggest that the TANCS-equipped steam vapor disinfection is an emerging and potentially useful technology for disinfecting biofilms on environmental surfaces.



Liyan Song, PhD

Jianfeng Wu, PhD

Chuanwu Xi, PhD


Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI



Biofilms on Environmental Surfaces: Evaluation of the Disinfection Efficacy of a Novel Steam Vapor System:  Created on March 21st, 2012.  Last Modified on March 21st, 2012


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