The Efficacy of Ultraviolet Radiation for Sterilizing Tools Used for Surgically Implanting Transmitters into Fish

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Telemetry is frequently used to examine the behavior of fish, and the transmitters used are normally surgically implanted into the coelom of fish. Implantation requires the use of surgical tools such as scalpels, forceps, needle holders, and sutures. When several fish are implanted consecutively for large telemetry studies, it is common for surgical tools to be sterilized or, at minimum, disinfected between each use so that pathogens that may be present are not spread among fish. However, autoclaving tools can take a long period of time, and chemical sterilants or disinfectants can be harmful to both humans and fish and ... continued below

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Walker, Ricardo W.; Markillie, Lye Meng; Colotelo, Alison HA; Gay, Marybeth E.; Woodley, Christa M. & Brown, Richard S. February 28, 2013.

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Telemetry is frequently used to examine the behavior of fish, and the transmitters used are normally surgically implanted into the coelom of fish. Implantation requires the use of surgical tools such as scalpels, forceps, needle holders, and sutures. When several fish are implanted consecutively for large telemetry studies, it is common for surgical tools to be sterilized or, at minimum, disinfected between each use so that pathogens that may be present are not spread among fish. However, autoclaving tools can take a long period of time, and chemical sterilants or disinfectants can be harmful to both humans and fish and have varied effectiveness. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is commonly used to disinfect water in aquaculture facilities. However, this technology has not been widely used to sterilize tools for surgical implantation of transmitters in fish. To determine its efficacy for this application, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers used UV radiation to disinfect surgical tools (i.e., forceps, needle holder, stab scalpel, and suture) that were exposed to one of four aquatic organisms that typically lead to negative health issues for salmonids. These organisms included Aeromonas salmonicida, Flavobacterium psychrophilum, Renibacterium salmoninarum, and Saprolegnia parasitica. Surgical tools were exposed to the bacteria by dipping them into a confluent suspension of three varying concentrations (i.e., low, medium, high). After exposure to the bacterial culture, tools were placed into a mobile Millipore UV sterilization apparatus. The tools were then exposed for three different time periods—2, 5, or 15 min. S. parasitica, a water mold, was tested using an agar plate method and forceps-pinch method. UV light exposures of 5 and 15 min were effective at killing all four organisms. UV light was also effective at killing Geobacillus stearothermophilus, the organism used as a biological indicator to verify effectiveness of steam sterilizers. These techniques appear to provide a quick alternative disinfection technique for some surgical tools that is less harmful to both humans and fish while not producing chemical waste. However, we do not recommend using these methods with tools that have overlapping parts or other structures that cannot be directly exposed to UV light such as needle holders.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-21126
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/1071989 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1071989
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc836224

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  • February 28, 2013

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 11:03 a.m.

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Walker, Ricardo W.; Markillie, Lye Meng; Colotelo, Alison HA; Gay, Marybeth E.; Woodley, Christa M. & Brown, Richard S. The Efficacy of Ultraviolet Radiation for Sterilizing Tools Used for Surgically Implanting Transmitters into Fish, report, February 28, 2013; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc836224/: accessed July 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.