Chemical Antimicrobial Agents

Soaps and Detergents
Lowers surface tension, make microbes accessible to other agents
High concentration:Dissolve lipids, disrupt membranes, denature proteins, inactivate enzymes
Low concentration: Wetting agent
Lower pH and denature proteins
Raise pH and denature proteins
Heavy metals
Denature proteins
Oxidize cell components in absence of organic matter
Denature proteins when mixed with water
Disrupt membranes, denature proteins, inactivate enzymes; not impaired by organic matter
Oxidizing agents
Disrupt disulfide bonds
Alkylating agents
Disrupt structure of proteins and nucleic acids
May interfere with replication or block cell wall synthesis
Use of soaps and detergents?
Hand washing, laundering, sanitizing kitchen and dairy equiptment
Use of surfactants?
Cationic detergents: sanitize utensils
Anionic detergents: launder clothes and clean household objects
Quaternary ammonium compounds: antiseptics on skin
Use of acids?
Food preservation
Use of alkalis?
Found in soaps
Use of heavy metals?
Silver nitrate used to prevent gonococcal infections
Mercury compounds to disinfect skin and inanimate objects
Copper to inhibit algal growth
Selenium to inhibit fungal growth
Use of halogens?
Chorine used to kill pathogens in water and to disinfect utensils
Iodine used as skin antiseptics
Use of alcohols?
Isopropyl alcohol used to disinfect skin
Propylene glycol used in aerosols
Use of phenols?
Phenol: Disinfect surfaces and destroy discarded cultures
Amylphenol: destroys vegetative organisms and inactivates viruses on skin and inanimate objects
Chlorhexidine gluconate: surgical scrub
Use of oxidizing agents?
Hydrogen peroxide used to clean puncture wounds
Potassium permanganate to disinfect instruments
Use of alkylating agents?
Formaldehyde: inactivates viruses without destroying antigenic properties
Glutaraldehyde: sterilize equiptment
Betapropiolactone: destroy hepatitis viruses
Ethylene oxide: sterilize inanimate objects that would be harmed by high temperatures
Use of dyes?
Acridine: used to clean wounds
Crystal Violet: treat some protozoan and fungal infections

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