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Learning objectives

  • Understand and compare various chemicals used to control microbial growth, including their uses, advantages and disadvantages, chemical structure, and mode of action

In addition to physical methods of microbial control, chemicals are also used to control microbial growth. A wide variety of chemicals can be used as disinfectants or antiseptics. When choosing which to use, it is important to consider the type of microbe targeted; how clean the item needs to be; the disinfectant’s effect on the item’s integrity; its safety to animals, humans, and the environment; its expense; and its ease of use. This section describes the variety of chemicals used as disinfectants and antiseptics, including their mechanisms of action and common uses.

Phenolics

In the 1800s, scientists began experimenting with a variety of chemicals for disinfection. In the 1860s, British surgeon Joseph Lister (1827–1912) began using carbolic acid, known as phenol , as a disinfectant for the treatment of surgical wounds (see Foundations of Modern Cell Theory ). In 1879, Lister’s work inspired the American chemist Joseph Lawrence (1836–1909) to develop Listerine, an alcohol-based mixture of several related compounds that is still used today as an oral antiseptic. Today, carbolic acid is no longer used as a surgical disinfectant because it is a skin irritant, but the chemical compounds found in antiseptic mouthwashes and throat lozenges are called phenolics .

Chemically, phenol consists of a benzene ring with an –OH group, and phenolics are compounds that have this group as part of their chemical structure ( [link] ). Phenolics such as thymol and eucalyptol occur naturally in plants. Other phenolics can be derived from creosote, a component of coal tar. Phenolics tend to be stable, persistent on surfaces, and less toxic than phenol. They inhibit microbial growth by denaturing proteins and disrupting membranes.

A) a chemical structure with a carbon ring of 6 carbons with an OH group on one. B) A chemical structure with 2 carbon rings (6 carbons each) connected by a covalent bond; one carbon has an OH. C) Two carbon rings (6 carbons) connected a carbon. Each ring has an OH and 3 Cls.
Phenol and phenolic compounds have been used to control microbial growth. (a) Chemical structure of phenol, also known as carbolic acid. (b) o-Phenylphenol, a type of phenolic, has been used as a disinfectant as well as to control bacterial and fungal growth on harvested citrus fruits. (c) Hexachlorophene, another phenol, known as a bisphenol (two rings), is the active ingredient in pHisoHex.

Since Lister’s time, several phenolic compounds have been used to control microbial growth. Phenolics like cresols (methylated phenols) and o-phenylphenol were active ingredients in various formulations of Lysol since its invention in 1889. o-Phenylphenol was also commonly used in agriculture to control bacterial and fungal growth on harvested crops, especially citrus fruits, but its use in the United States is now far more limited. The bisphenol hexachlorophene , a disinfectant, is the active ingredient in pHisoHex, a topical cleansing detergent widely used for handwashing in hospital settings. pHisoHex is particularly effective against gram-positive bacteria, including those causing staphylococcal and streptococcal skin infections. pHisoHex was formerly used for bathing infants, but this practice has been discontinued because it has been shown that exposure to hexachlorophene can lead to neurological problems.

Questions & Answers

suitable example for prokaryotes
Suvetha Reply
one of the possible early sources of energy was
Suvetha
uv radiation and lighting
Anisha
which is the specific virus causing typhoid
Jeremiah Reply
it's caused by a virulent bacteria called Salmonella Typhi
Sarah
write the life cycle of HIV
Firomsa Reply
describe the internal and external structure of prokaryotic cell in terms of there appearance and functions
Lenia Reply
compare and contrast similar structures found in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
Lenia
control of microorganisms
ISTEFAZUL Reply
how can a doctor treat a person affected by endospore forming bacteria in his/her wound?
Mambo Reply
a 28 years old woman come to your clinic with complain of fever painful genital blisters which express clear fluid when ruptured burning sensation around the bristers what is the diagnosis?
Ramadhani Reply
genital herpes caused by a virus called herpe simplex virus
Doris
what is the reference between selective medium and differential medium?
Tony Reply
the micro flora of air is transient why
Princess
Hello.... Am new here
essien Reply
welcome essien
Muhammad
welcome essien
Beka
classification of gram positive
lissa Reply
classify gram positive
lissa
catalase test is done to differentiate between staph and strep. as staph is catalase positive while strep is catalase negative then staph is differentiate further on coagulase positive and coagulase negative. staph aureus is coagulase positive while staph epidermidis is coagulase negative.
Muhammad
gram positive staph is further differentiated on sensitivity test and manitol salt fermentation test while gram positive strep is differentiated on hemolysis pattern
Muhammad
more about gramm positive
lissa
please
lissa
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Blessing
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Blessing
taxonomy
Rahul
can i use the graph of bacterial growth for my master's thesis?
Christoph Reply
facultative anaerobic bavteria gives uniform turdibity in nutrient broth why?
Princess Reply
oils and waxes are not sterilized in autoclave
Princess
what is the function of paraffin
Muhammad
@ MAHI because they can grow all over the media from surface to the bottom as they can utilize oxygen or conduct fermentation in its absence.
Online
2.@MAHI Autoclave uses steam under pressure. The steam cannot penetrate through oil and wax. Thus, dry heat sterilization is preferred than autoclave .
Online
thnku
Nadiya
how nutirent agar can converted into blood agar
Princess
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Princess
take a nutrient agar ........and add 5ml blood and put in it ...........!
Nadiya
nutrient agar +blood 5ml+ distilled water =blood agar .
Nadiya
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Nadiya
hi
Rahul
why agar is not a neutrient source?
Shimul
because it's a general purpose agar only use for growing bacteria
Richa
way is antigen
opaleye
what is antigen
opaleye
antigen is a foreign body that cause activation of antibody?
ASNAKE
Antigen is a toxin or other foreign substance which induces an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies.
Shimul
thanks for that
opaleye
what is pharmacology
Luyenu
a science that studies about the drug
ASNAKE
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Sayid
y
Abdul
Work hard
Anigor
y
Abdul
thanks alot
Luyenu
What is the major different between gram positive and gram negative bacteria.
Asikur
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Mala
content of their cell wall
Doris
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Richa
Harley prescott
Vikas
what are the five predisposing factors of opportunistic infections
Asher Reply
1. long term exposure to diseases, that the body immunity weakens.
prosper
2. Nature Of some diseases to weaken body immunity such as, AIDS.
prosper
3. Use of immuno-suppresive drugs.
prosper
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prosper
Low immune is the major cause eg for kaposis sarcoma
Davismith
suitable conditions e.g temp,
Muhammad
what os gnormal flora
kifayat Reply
morphological and genetic classification of bacteria
Potter Reply
what is the morphogical
Bupe
h
Sudhir
morphologycal is defined as relating to the branch of biology that deals with the form of living organisms,and with relationship between their structures.
Nadiya
relating to the form or structure of things .
Nadiya
what is the meaning of lessions
oluwa

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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