What is the difference between sterilization and disinfection?

Sterilization is the destruction or removal of all forms of life, with particular reference to microbial organisms. The limiting factor and requirement for sterilization is the destruction of heat-resistant bacterial and mycotic spores.

Disinfection is the destruction of pathogenic and other kinds of microorganisms by physical or chemical means. Disinfection is less lethal than sterilization because it destroys most recognized pathogenic microorganisms, but not necessarily all microbial forms, such as bacterial spores. Disinfection does not ensure the margin of safety associated with sterilization processes.