Toggle: English / Spanish
A spore is a reproductive cell produced by certain fungi, plants (moss, ferns), and some bacteria.
Certain bacteria make spores as a way to defend themselves. Bacterial spores have thick walls. They can resist high temperatures, humidity, and other environmental conditions.
The bacteria Clostridia form spores. These spores create the living bacteria that cause gas gangrene and antibiotic-associated colitis.
Chemical disinfectants can kill bacteria, but do not destroy their spores.
A process called sterilization destroys spores and bacteria. It is done at high temperatures and under high pressures. In health care settings, sterilization is usually done using a device called an autoclave.
Gerding DN, Johnson S. Clostridial infections. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 304.
- Last reviewed on 8/17/2014
- Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.