# Can bacteria or other microorganisms be killed by applying pressure?

Can you smash a bacteria (or any microorganism) and kill it? Let's say there is millions of microorganisms on a table. When you put your finger on the table, will or can you kill at least some of them ?

• I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is just too silly. Dec 30, 2016 at 23:14
• Good physics oriented question. According to @JayCkat 's answer; the bacteria require 40 k psi; whereas human beings die after 43.5 to 58 psi So the question could be improved as, "why bacteria would need so huge pressure to die whereas larger organism die at much less pressure".
– user25568
Jan 2, 2017 at 18:36

Yes, you can kill bacteria using pressure. The devised used is called a French press

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_pressure_cell_press

http://www.glenmills.com/cell-disruption/high-pressure-homogenizer/french-press-gm/

However the pressure use is about 40k psi.... which is a lot higher pressure than anything a human body can generate.

Other methods to kill bacteria include, heat, gamma radiation, oxidative chemicals, antibiotics, dehydration, salt, oxygen exclusion, freezing.

However bacteria are a very diverse group, so it might take one or more methods in combination to kill all bacteria (and their spores) in a sample.

• I'm probably being overly pedantic here, but a human can certainly easily generate 40,000 psi, if merely by standing on something pointy (a surface of up to a few sq mm, depending on your mass). Of course, clearly not as OP is suggesting by pushing your finger on a table without the aid of something like a pin. Dec 30, 2016 at 20:20
• Well if you get a 70kg person to stand and balance his complete weight on a pin (2 mm2),... then yes, 40k psi can be achieved by a human body. But if we start factoring aids, a human can do a lot of things. Dec 30, 2016 at 20:45