Medical Services Patients & Visitors Health Information For Medical Professionals Quality About Us
Text Size:  -   +  |  Print Page  |  Email Page

Spores

Definition

A spore is a cell that certain fungi, plants (moss, ferns), and bacteria produce. Spores are involved in reproduction.

Certain bacteria make spores as a way to defend themselves. These spores have thick walls. They can resist high temperatures, humidity, and other environmental conditions.

The bacteria Clostridia form spores. These spores create the bacteria that cause a rare condition called gas gangrene and a type of colitis that is linked to use of antibiotics.

Information

Chemical disinfectants can kill bacteria, but they do not destroy their spores.

A process called sterilization destroys spores and bacteria. It is done at high temperatures and under high pressures. In health care settings, sterilization is usually done using a device called an autoclave.

References

Gerding DN, Johnson S. Clostridial infections. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 296.

Schmucker R, Bryant K. Antibiotic-associated colitis. In: Cherry JD, Harrison GJ, Kaplan SL, Steinbach WJ, Hotez PJ, eds. Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 45.


Review Date: 8/14/2015
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com