In bacteriology, can I touch items (e.g. oxidase discs) with my gloves not fearing to contaminate these items?

Are these gloves (e.g. Disposable nitrile gloves) made so that bacteria can't adhere to them?

  • $\begingroup$ Because maybe that's only true for viruses not bacteria? Maybe because they are not durable enough to be used many times with confidence? $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2023 at 4:57
  • $\begingroup$ i saw a microbiologist in a video touching an oxidase disc while performing oxidase test with his gloves, maybe he was treating his hands aseptically so overall it won't matter edit: actually he was touching other non sterile things with his gloves. $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2023 at 5:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As @bob1 stated, and I want to emphasize, gloves in a box, regardless of what they're made of, are not sterile. Someone (or something) put them there, and you don't know what's on them. To my knowledge, there are no antibacterial gloves. Sterile gloves come in a special wrapper and are very much more expensive, and require a special technique to put them on to keep them sterile.. $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2023 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't differentiating between contaminating Stocks, to be incubated test medium (e.g. citrate agar) and sensitive on-spot testing platforms (e.g. PCR), and insensitive on-spot tests( e.g. catalase, oxidase, etc). The oxidase disc is a relatively insensitive on-spot test, the small number of microorganisms on the gloves will not affect the result. The stock of oxidase discs is however the main concern and should be dealt with aspectically. $\endgroup$ Sep 28, 2023 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


Short answer - No!

These gloves are neither produced nor stored aseptically unless you get ones specifically for surgery. You should always use good aseptic technique when working with viable organisms in the lab.

General advice for oxidase discs is to pick them up with flamed forceps.

  • $\begingroup$ I meant to "contaminate the items" not "the gloves", maybe gloves adhere too strong to bacteria as to trap them so they can't be transferred elsewhere or not let them adhere at all. $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2023 at 8:55
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @FreezingSoul No, bacteria etc do not especially adhere to the gloves. The gloves are there to protect you from your sample, and to protect your sample from you! They do not prevent transference of biologicals from one surface to another. If you contaminate your gloves (as you do when you put them on) and then touch another surface, you will contaminate that surface, whether it be you or a sample, test, phone, tube or anything else. Hence the advice to use aseptic technique. Gloves are not sterile in the box! $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Jun 30, 2023 at 9:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .