A spore is a cell that certain fungi, plants (moss, ferns), and bacteria produce. Spores are involved in reproduction.
Certain bacteria make spores as a way to defend themselves. Spores have thick walls. They can resist high temperatures, humidity, and other environmental conditions.
The bacteria Clostridia form spores. These spores create the bacteria that cause a rare condition called gas gangrene and a type of colitis that is linked to use of antibiotics.
Chemical disinfectants can kill bacteria, but they do not destroy their spores.
A process called sterilization destroys spores and bacteria. It is done at high temperatures and under high pressures. In health care settings, sterilization is usually done using a device called an autoclave.
Gerding DN, Johnson S. Clostridial infections. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 296.
Schmucker R, Bryant K. Antibiotic-associated colitis. In: Cherry JD, Harrison GJ, Kaplan SL, Steinbach WJ, Hotez PJ, eds. Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 45.