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Alcohols tend to be bactericidal and fungicidal, but may also be viricidal for enveloped viruses only. Although alcohols are not sporicidal, they do inhibit the processes of sporulation and germination. Alcohols are volatile and dry quickly, but they may also cause skin irritation because they dehydrate the skin at the site of application. One common clinical use of alcohols is swabbing the skin for degerming before needle injection. Alcohols also are the active ingredients in instant hand sanitizer s, which have gained popularity in recent years. The alcohol in these hand sanitizers works both by denaturing proteins and by disrupting the microbial cell membrane, but will not work effectively in the presence of visible dirt.

Last, alcohols are used to make tincture s with other antiseptics, such as the iodine tinctures discussed previously in this chapter. All in all, alcohols are inexpensive and quite effective for the disinfection of a broad range of vegetative microbes. However, one disadvantage of alcohols is their high volatility, limiting their effectiveness to immediately after application.

a) Ethyl alcohol has 2 C’s and an OH.  B) Isopropyl alcohol has 3 C’s and an OH.
(a) Ethyl alcohol, the intoxicating ingredient found in alcoholic drinks, is also used commonly as a disinfectant. (b) Isopropyl alcohol, also called rubbing alcohol, has a related molecular structure and is another commonly used disinfectant. (credit a photo: modification of work by D Coetzee; credit b photo: modification of work by Craig Spurrier)
  • Name at least three advantages of alcohols as disinfectants.
  • Describe several specific applications of alcohols used in disinfectant products.

Surfactants

Surface-active agents, or surfactants , are a group of chemical compounds that lower the surface tension of water. Surfactants are the major ingredients in soaps and detergents . Soaps are salts of long-chain fatty acids and have both polar and nonpolar regions, allowing them to interact with polar and nonpolar regions in other molecules ( [link] ). They can interact with nonpolar oils and grease to create emulsions in water, loosening and lifting away dirt and microbes from surfaces and skin. Soaps do not kill or inhibit microbial growth and so are not considered antiseptics or disinfectants. However, proper use of soaps mechanically carries away microorganisms, effectively degerming a surface. Some soaps contain added bacteriostatic agents such as triclocarban or cloflucarban , compounds structurally related to triclosan, that introduce antiseptic or disinfectant properties to the soaps.

A chemical structure with a long carbon chain and two oxygens at one end. The end with the oxygens is the hydrophobic head which shuns hydrocarbon-like substances but is attracted to water molecules. Thi sis the anionic portion of the molecule. The long carbon chains are the hydrophilic tail which shuns water but is attracted to oily greasy hydrocarbon-like substances.
Soaps are the salts (sodium salt in the illustration) of fatty acids and have the ability to emulsify lipids, fats, and oils by interacting with water through their hydrophilic heads and with the lipid at their hydrophobic tails.

Soaps, however, often form films that are difficult to rinse away, especially in hard water, which contains high concentrations of calcium and magnesium mineral salts. Detergents contain synthetic surfactant molecules with both polar and nonpolar regions that have strong cleansing activity but are more soluble, even in hard water, and, therefore, leave behind no soapy deposits. Anionic detergents , such as those used for laundry, have a negatively charged anion at one end attached to a long hydrophobic chain, whereas cationic detergents have a positively charged cation instead. Cationic detergents include an important class of disinfectants and antiseptics called the quaternary ammonium salts (quats) , named for the characteristic quaternary nitrogen atom that confers the positive charge ( [link] ). Overall, quats have properties similar to phospholipids, having hydrophilic and hydrophobic ends. As such, quats have the ability to insert into the bacterial phospholipid bilayer and disrupt membrane integrity. The cationic charge of quats appears to confer their antimicrobial properties, which are diminished when neutralized. Quats have several useful properties. They are stable, nontoxic, inexpensive, colorless, odorless, and tasteless. They tend to be bactericidal by disrupting membranes. They are also active against fungi, protozoans, and enveloped viruses, but endospores are unaffected. In clinical settings, they may be used as antiseptics or to disinfect surfaces. Mixtures of quats are also commonly found in household cleaners and disinfectants, including many current formulations of Lysol brand products, which contain benzalkonium chlorides as the active ingredients. Benzalkonium chlorides, along with the quat cetylpyrimidine chloride , are also found in products such as skin antiseptics, oral rinses, and mouthwashes.

Questions & Answers

What are antibodies?
Happy Reply
they are immune cells that are released by immune system to fight strangers like microbes
Ahmed
a blood protien produce in response to an counteracting a specific antigen
Pooja
Why salmonella typhi is harmful protozoan?
Saily Reply
because make typhoid that is considered as a food born illness
Ahmed
Name any five modes of transmission.
Happy
what are the scientific names and common names of some microbes
Rich Reply
Staphylococcus aureus - staph Streptococcus pyogenes - strep Botulism - Clostridium botulinum Rocky Mountain spotted fever - Rickettsia rickettsii Diphtheria - Corynebacterium diphtheriae Gonorrhea - Neisseria gonorrhoeae
Tammy
what are the limitations of the Koch's postulate
Naa
how a microorganism growth.
Zubair Reply
Is foetus a parasite to his or her mother? if yes and if no ho
Mashauri Reply
y
Yusri
yes
Yashkin
yes
Zubair
yes it a parasite to the mother because it feeds on the mother for survival
Beatrice
yes
Redwan
no
Elasha
definition of a parasite: an organism that lives in or on an organism of ANOTHER species (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other's expense
Elasha
no because an organism can inky be a parasite if it causes harm to its HOST. And the fetus does not cause harm to its mother under normal conditions
aliyu
yes
Naa
what is biosensor in microbiology
Raja Reply
What are biosensor
Raja
what's are biosensor
Raja
what is microbiology defination
Rinku Reply
microbiology is the study of small or manuit organisms which cannot be seen with our nacked eyes unless with the aid of the microscope
Brandina
is the study of living organisms which are not directly visible to a direct eye but can only be seen under a microscope
Ipa
ok
Ipa
microbiology is the study of living organisms of microscopic size it is also the study of micro organisms with their form structure reproduction psychology metabolism and classification
Priyanka
what are the importances of Microbiology?
Erick Reply
don't know
SINGLE
we obtained the insulin from the bacteria. and some microorganisms are decomposer in ecosystems.
Zubair
nitrogen in the air is fixed into the soil by microbes example is nitrobactor
Matilda
yes
Zubair
how a weak immune region where microorganisms attack easily?
Zubair Reply
with examples differentiate gram positive from gram negative bacteria
Mary Reply
Differentiate gram positive from gram negative
Mary
I have no idea
Zubair
hello
Kuonain
and example of gram negative is E. coli
Pooja
gram positive stain purple when subjected to gram stain whilst gram positive bacterial has thick wall composed of peptidoglycan
Matilda
ok
Zubair
what is a process of gene expression in eukaryotes ?
Nayyab Reply
pls help us with the answer
Abdussalam
spontaneous generation means
Siddhi Reply
hiii
Siddhi
Hello
eman
So, what's next 😂
eman
I have a problem with Micro
eman
I studying things and see question Some thing else
eman
Can u help me, please
eman
What i havta do
eman
firsfall when you studying understand things...
Siddhi
good afternoon dear Friends
yaya
Greeting to everyone in here.
Manka
There is a problem. I need a diagram of a virus with it functions.
Manka
structure of bacterial
Kuyiba
gghhhh
Zubair
group plz i need help in microbio
Kuonain
it really difficult fr me
Kuonain
kashur cha kah
suhail
sorry now I read in class 8th but I can help u
Zubair
Me too. It's very difficult for me
Angela
rod shape
Priyanka
helical
Priyanka
Hello
esike
spherical
Priyanka
peomorphic
Priyanka
I am ryt or not
Priyanka
hi
suhail
hello
DIPTI
Are we together pls what's the topic for the day?
esike
what is innate
Lizzy
innate means natural
Pooja
the genetic makeup of an individual
Matilda
pls i need the common names for the following parasites..ENTEROBIUS VERMICULARIS,NECATOR AMERICANUS,ASCARIES LUMBRICOIDES,TRICHURIS TRICHIURA,TRICHOMONAS VAGINALIS,GIARDIA LAMBLIA,ENTAMOEBA HISTOLYTICA,SCHISTOSOMA MANSONI,SCHISTOSOMAHEMATOBIUM,STROGYLOIDES STERCORALIS,AND TRAPANOSOMA BRUCI GAMBIENSE
timothy
ENTEROBIUS VERMICULARIS and STROGYLOIDES STERCORALIS have the same common name which is pin worm and thread worm
Chinedu
I didn't find the common names for TRICHOMONAS VAGINALIS, GIARDIA LAMBLIA, ENTAMOEBA HISTOLYTICA, TRYPANOSOMA BRUCEI GAMBIENSE
Chinedu
NECATOR AMERICANUS - New world hookworm ASCARIS LUMBRICOIDES- Ascarid TRICHURIS TRICHIURA- Whip worm
Chinedu
Hi guys
Chinedu
Why are myeloblasts not present in the bloodstream?
Chinedu
thank u
Dasaah
is blood from capillary puncture suitable for hormonal assays
NANCY Reply
Direct this question to a hematologist for a better answer please.
LAFIA
In most cases the blood is necessary but it's limited from my own Analysis
Lee
u can do but it depends on your sampling blood its enev or not
Ali
Control indications of cipro, doxicyclin, setracyclin, cloxacyclin, erythromycin
Oslen Reply
oo
babinthe
what is sims position
babinthe Reply

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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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