Preservation is the process of preventing microbial growth in manufactured products such as canned foods, pharmaceuticals and medications. Microorganisms are ubiquitous, and can infiltrate products meant for human use during storage and processing. This scenario can lead to the spoilage or deterioration of the product and possibly the direct infection of the consumers or end users of such contaminated products. Because of this development, most consumables including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food products are prepared with the inclusion of preservatives that not only prolong their shelf life but which also help to prevent the growth of pathogenic microorganisms in the products. Preservatives are also included in the manufacture of both sterile pharmaceutical products (e.g. injections and ophthalmic solutions) and non-sterile pharmaceutical products (e.g. topical and oral medications) in order to control microbial invasion as well as make the product to remain effective until use. Preservatives are generally expected to last as long as the product is still in use. They kill and limit the multiplication and/or proliferation of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms introduced into the products by chance during its manufacture and usage.
Sanitization is the process of reducing microbial populations on inanimate surfaces or objects to levels adjudged as safe or microbial free. According to the laid down public health standards peculiar to a particular people or area (as it relates to the cleanliness of products or objects), inanimate objects and surfaces are generally regarded as clean and safe for human use if the microbial load or population have been reduced to certain accepted limit or level. Though sanitized objects and surfaces may be traditionally hygienic, such objects are not totally free from microbes (i.e. germ-free) in the real sense of sterility. Antimicrobial agents used to achieve sanitization are generally referred to as sanitizers. Sanitizers unlike other antimicrobial agents (e.g. disinfectants and antiseptics) only reduce the microbial population of inanimate objects to safe levels tolerable for usage. They barely eliminates (i.e. kill or inhibit) the infecting pathogens.
Sanitization is mostly employed when only a partial destruction or reduction in the microbial population of an object is anticipated. For thorough and absolute killing of microorganisms and the inhibition of microbial growth, other more effective methods of controlling microorganisms such as disinfection, antisepsis and sterilization (as earlier explained) are employed to remove, limit and destroy microorganisms in or on inanimate and animate objects and surfaces. Sanitization merely makes inanimate objects and surfaces to be aesthetically clean and accepted for work. Sanitizers are used for a variety of industrial and domestic purposes such as for the washing of dishes and utensils, cleaning of surfaces, floors and equipment used for industrial productions.
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