Both beta and gamma rays are suitable for sterilization. The main difference between them lies in their depths of material penetration and their dose rates:
The energy-rich beta or gamma rays destroy the DNA of the microorganisms, thus inactivating them. Radiation sterilization is thus the only process that enables products, including their packaging, to be sterilized without any appreciable increase in temperature – and without the use of chemicals, which always involves the problem of residues. Even the contaminated inner surfaces of closed packages, or components with complex geometrical shapes, are safely and reliably sterilized by high-energy radiation. These benefits make radiation sterilization a simple, effective and environmentally friendly alternative to other methods.