Materials and surfaces can give off substances which serve as a food source for microorganisms such as bacteria, algae or fungi. Microorganisms could accumulate and multiply. However, plastics could not only represent a food source to microorganisms, materials and surfaces may also be altered by the products of metabolism generated by the microorganisms (e.g. discoloration). This may affect the service life of materials and enable microorganisms to gain uncontrolled access to critical areas.
Especially in the pharmaceutical, food and medical device industry, the growth of microorganism represents a hazard to the end-product. The ability of plastics to resist metabolization is therefore an important quality factor which can be assessed in accordance with DIN EN ISO 846.
- ISO 846 Plastics - Evaluation of the action of microorganisms (ISO 846:1997); German Version EN ISO 846:1997