Hazard Group 3 agent decontamination using hydrogen peroxide vapour in a class III microbiological safety cabinet

T. Pottage*, S. Lewis, A. Lansley, S. Fraser, C. Hendon-Dunn, J. Bacon, D. Ngabo, S. R. Parks, Allan Bennett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: This study investigated the efficacy of hydrogen peroxide vapour (HPV) at inactivating hazard group 3 bacteria that have been presented dried from their growth medium to present a realistic challenge. 

Methods and Results: Hydrogen peroxide vapour technology (Bioquell) was used to decontaminate a class III microbiological safety cabinet containing biological indicators (BIs) made by drying standard working suspensions of the following agents: Bacillus anthracis (Ames) spores, Brucella abortus (strain S99), Burkholderia pseudomallei (NCTC 12939), Escherichia coli O157 ST11 (NCTC 12079), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (strain H37Rv) and Yersinia pestis (strain CO92) on stainless steel coupons. Extended cycles were used to expose the agents for 90 min. The HPV cycle completely inactivated B. anthracis spores, B. abortus, B. pseudomallei, E. coli O157 and Y. pestis when BIs were processed using quantitative and qualitative methods. Whilst M. tuberculosis was not completely inactivated, it was reduced by 4 log10 from a starting concentration of 106 colony-forming units. 

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that HPV is able to inactivate a range of HG3 agents at high concentrations with associated organic matter, but M. tuberculosis showed increased resistance to the process. Significance and Impact of the Study: This publication demonstrates that HPV can inactivate HG3 agents that have an organic load associated with them. It also shows that M. tuberculosis has higher resistance to HPV than other agents. This shows that an appropriate BI to represent the agent of interest should be chosen to demonstrate a decontamination is successful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-123
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number1
Early online date31 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
PHE would like to acknowledge Bioquell for the loan of their HPV generator and support from their engineers. Funding for this project was provided by PHE Science Hub under project 110801. Hazard Group 3 Agent Decontamination using Hydrogen Peroxide Vapour in a Class III Microbiological Safety Cabinet is Crown copyright and is reproduced with the permission of Public Health England and the Controller of HMSO.


  • E. coli
  • Mycobacteria
  • Yersinia
  • bacterial spores
  • disinfection
  • gaseous decontamination


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