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agent that destroys disease-causing microorganisms and their spores. Disinfectants, or germicides, are sometimes considered to be substances applied to inanimate bodies, whereas antiseptics, not so potent, are agents that kill microbes on living things.
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the destruction of pests and causative agents of plant diseases by means of toxic vapors and gases. Fumigation is carried out with the aid of devices called fumigators and is applied in warehouses, mills, grain elevators, hothouses, hotbeds, vegetable storehouses, containers, rooms, special chambers, pits, and tents made of canvas or synthetics. Soil and rodent burrows may also be fumigated. The process is used to protect cuttings and such crops as grains, vegetables, tea, and fruits, including grapes and citrus fruits.
During fumigation the toxic gases and vapors act on the respiratory organs of pests under airtight conditions, causing the harmful organisms to die from poisoning within a certain amount of time—from a few hours to several days. The method, length of time, and effectiveness of fumigation depend on the properties of the fumigants and pests, as well as on the degree of infestation.