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3D printers that build objects using extruded thermoplastic are quickly becoming common place tools in laboratories. We demonstrate that with appropriate handling, these devices are capable of producing sterile components from a non-sterile feedstock of thermoplastic without any treatment after fabrication. The fabrication process itself results in sterilization of the material. The resulting 3D printed components are suitable for a wide variety of applications, including experiments with bacteria and cell culture.
This manuscript is under review at PeerJ.
16S Sanger sequence data for contaminating organisms
First, let me point out that I like the idea. I think it would be valuable to add one more kind of experiment, which I have discussed openly on Twitter, and which begins to approximate a process control for the feedstock sterilization. Various kinds of sterilization are routinely tested by observing the death of large numbers of highly resistant spores. Geobacillus stearothermophilus and Bacillus atrophaeus spores are used in the tests and germinated under known and controlled conditions routinely. Mixing these into a sample of feedstock and demonstrating a controlled N log of killing (maybe 6) can be used as a verification that the printer is operating within effective 'sterilization parameters.' If 3D printing enters the clinical laboratory, this will be the kind of verification required for CAP/CLIA etc. It would be very useful to have it established as a goal.
That's an excellent idea. Can you recommend a supplier that is commonly used for this purpose? I was able to find a number of spore strip test kits, but I don't think that form factor will be mechanically compatible with the printer. Can you suggest a kit that has a "loose spores" form factor?