What Is Tyndallization?

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What Is Tyndallization?

In the world of microbiology and sterilization, several techniques have been developed over the years to ensure the eradication of harmful microorganisms. While modern methods such as autoclaving, chemical disinfection, and radiation have taken center stage, it’s essential to acknowledge the contributions of historical techniques. One such method is Tyndallization, named after its creator, John Tyndall. In this blog, we’ll explore what Tyndallization is, its historical significance, and its relevance in today’s world of sterilization.

The History Of Tyndallization

John Tyndall, a prominent Irish physicist and natural philosopher of the 19th century, made significant contributions to the fields of optics, atmospheric science, and microbiology. In the mid-1870s, he developed a novel sterilization method that bears his name. Tyndallization was created as a response to the limitations of existing sterilization techniques of that time, which were often inadequate in destroying heat-resistant bacterial spores.

The Principle Of Tyndallization

Tyndallization is based on the principle of intermittent sterilization. Unlike traditional autoclaving, which uses continuous high-temperature steam, Tyndallization involves a series of intermittent heating and cooling cycles. This method aims to eliminate not only the vegetative forms of bacteria but also their heat-resistant spores over several days.

The Tyndallization Process

The Tyndallization process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Boiling: The substance or medium to be sterilized is first heated to its boiling point, killing the vegetative forms of bacteria. This initial step lasts for a specified time, often 20-30 minutes.
  2. Incubation: After boiling, the material is allowed to cool and is incubated at room temperature for a period, usually 24 hours. During this incubation period, any heat-resistant spores that survived the boiling stage germinate into vegetative forms.
  3. Repeated Boiling: After the first incubation period, the material is boiled again for a shorter duration, usually 20-30 minutes. This step kills the newly germinated bacteria.
  4. Re-incubation: The material is allowed to cool and incubate again for another 24 hours.
  5. Final Boiling: The process is repeated for a third time, followed by a final incubation period.

This series of alternating heating and cooling cycles allows the heat-resistant spores to germinate and then be killed during the subsequent boiling phases. After this process is repeated multiple times, the medium or substance should be largely free from viable microorganisms.

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The Significance Of Tyndallization

Tyndallization was a significant development in its time because it addressed the shortcomings of contemporary sterilization methods. It enabled researchers and scientists to effectively sterilize certain materials that were not easily sterilizable using other techniques. Today, Tyndallization is considered a precursor to the more advanced autoclaving methods and remains relevant in specific applications.

Modern Relevance

While Tyndallization is not commonly used in the pharmaceutical and medical industries due to its time-consuming nature and the risk of incomplete sterilization, it still finds application in certain niche areas. For instance, Tyndallization may be employed in laboratories for the sterilization of culture media that contain agar, which can be degraded by high-temperature autoclaving. Additionally, Tyndallization is used in food processing to sterilize heat-sensitive substances like canned foods, where high-temperature processing can compromise product quality.


Tyndallization, named after its creator John Tyndall, is a historical method of sterilization that relies on intermittent cycles of heating and cooling to destroy heat-resistant bacterial spores. While it is less commonly used today in favor of more efficient and modern techniques, Tyndallization played a crucial role in advancing the field of sterilization and still finds application in specific scenarios. Understanding the history and principles behind this method provides valuable insight into the evolution of microbiological techniques and their relevance in today’s world.


What Do You Mean By Tyndallization?

Tyndallization, also called fractional sterilization and discontinuous heating, is a form of sterilization that involves boiling the goods to be sterilized in their cans or jars at 100 degrees Centigrade for about 15 to 20 minutes a day, for three days in a row.

What Is The Difference Between Tyndallization And Pasteurization?

Tyndallization is a sterilization method that kills all forms of microbial life, including the spores. While, pasteurization is a method of eliminating pathogenic microorganisms mainly from milk and some other beverages. However, pasteurization does not kill spores.

Which Instrument Is Used For Tyndallization?

Which of the following instruments is used to perform tyndallization? Explanation: For tyndallization or fractional sterilization the apparatus used is the Steam Arnold however an autoclave can also be used if a free-flowing steam is used.

Why Is Tyndallization Used?

Tyndallization is a process from the nineteenth century for sterilizing substances, usually food, named after its inventor John Tyndall, that can be used to kill heat-resistant endospores. Although now considered dated, it is still occasionally used.

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