A peer reviewed paper which discusses gamma irradiation and the complexities and standards relating to the sterilization of single-use devices (such as medical devices and items used in aseptic filling processes), is available on-line for reading through a digital edition of Pharmaceutical Technology.
Gamma irradiation is a major sterilization technology and it is particularly suited to items which cannot be sterilized by heat. During use of this type of radiation, high-energy photons bombard the product, causing electron displacement within. These reactions generate free radicals, which aid in breaking chemical bonds. The resultant disruption of microbial DNA renders any organisms that survive the process nonviable or unable to reproduce.
To view the paper go to: PharmTech
The reference is:
Sandle, T. and Saghee, M.R. (2012). “Application of Sterilization by Gamma Radiation for Single-Use Disposable Technologies in the Biopharmaceutical Sector”, Pharmaceutical Technology, Supplement: Bioprocessing and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, May 2012, S20-S27