Ethylene oxide is an effective sterilizing agent for bacteriological broths, milk, and serum. A short time after it has exerted its sterilizing effect, the treated fluids again become capable of supporting bacterial growth.

Ethylene oxide has been shown to destroy a number of aerobic Gram-positive and Gram-negative organisms, aerobic and anaerobic spore-forming bacilli, fungi, and vaccinia virus. No organisms have been encountered which withstand its action.

The quantity of ethylene oxide necessary for sterilization depends to some degree on the character of the medium sterilized. None of the materials tested required more than 1 volume per cent of liquid ethylene oxide.

Ethylene oxide is highly reactive chemically, and its reactions with many of the components of complex biological fluids cannot be fully anticipated. Regardless of the chemical changes produced, ethylene oxide did not permanently alter the essential qualities of the growth factors in broth and milk which are required by fastidious organisms such as group A streptococci and others. However, its effect on the biological activity of any particular organic compound should be assayed before it can be assumed not to have a deleterious effect.

The sterilization of media by ethylene oxide is accompanied by a rise in pH. Fluids which have a relatively high initial pH may require adjustment with sterile acid to return them to the optimal pH for bacterial growth.

A mixture of ethylene oxide and broth was toxic to mice for 6 hours after admixture. Toxicity disappeared on incubating the mixture longer, and no residual toxicity could be demonstrated after 6 hours, even on repeated intraperitoneal inoculations.

As a means of sterilizing bacteriological media and other biological fluids, ethylene oxide deserves consideration when heat and filtration cannot be used.

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