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"E-Beam, Gamma and Product and Process Design"

What are the advantages of using e-beam over gamma sterilization, or vice versa?

Last Updated On May 2, 2014

There is no easy answer to this question, unfortunately, since the best place to have a discussion about advantages and/or disadvantages of e-beam and gamma is in the context of a specific product and its manufacturing process. It is critical that consideration of the sterilization requirements be conducted early in the product and process development cycle. In general, both e-beam and gamma are low temperature processes compared to heat-based sterilization options like steam sterilization. While e-beam may induce a slightly greater temperature rise in materials compared to gamma at high e-beam dose rates, it is also generally somewhat less damaging to materials. Penetration depth differences between e-beam and gamma (gamma penetrates further than e-beam at a given density) are best viewed not on the advantage/disadvantage scale but as product and process design flexibilities. The same can be said of batch vs. in-line; a batch gamma process may be most appropriate in one situation while in-line e-beam sterilization may be better suited to a different product. Given these, and many other considerations, the advisability and importance of involving in-house and external sterilization science experts in the earliest phases of the product and package design process cannot be stressed too much.