Biologic Sterilizer Monitoring

This service is provided by our Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. It involves the monitoring of heat sterilizers using a biologic indicator to test the effectiveness of the sterilizer in killing microbial life, and is the only true test of effective sterilization.

Subscribers to the service receive a year's supply of test forms and biologic indicator test strips and control strips. The biologic indicators are filter paper strips impregnated with spores of Geobacillus stearothermophilus and Bacillus atrophaeus enclosed in a glassine envelope.


  • The biological indicator is placed in a typical sterilization load.
  • At the end of the sterilization cycle, the biologic indicator test along with an unprocessed control is mailed to the monitoring service for culturing.
  • Positive results, indicative of ineffective sterilization, are called to the office immediately and are verified by a gram stain.

What we offer

  • biologic monitoring of autoclaves, chemiclaves and dry heat sterilizers
  • steam sterilization results in 24 hours
  • quality assurance by an independent laboratory
  • help with troubleshooting
  • test results will be emailed directly to your office
  • total confidentiality


After 19 years of operation, we've performed more than 30,000 routine tests for subscribers. Sterilizers tested include autoclaves, chemiclaves and dry heat sterilizers.

Failed tests are repeated, and if the retest is again positive, equipment malfunction is indicated and servicing followed by another test is recommended. If the first retest is negative, a load processing problem is indicated.

Routine biologic monitoring by subscribers has resulted in early detection of sterilization failures, allowing corrective measures to be taken.

Contact information

Oral Pathology Lab
Dentistry Building, Dalhousie University
5981 University Avenue
PO Box 15000
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
B3H 4R2
Phone: (902) 494-3768
Fax: (902) 494-6411

To subscribe to the service, please request a subscription form at