MadSci Network: Microbiology

Re: Microbicidal efficiency of disinfectants

Date: Tue Dec 15 11:18:07 1998
Posted By: Angela Reese, Study Coordinator, CaP GENES (Prostate Cancer Genetics Study), Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Area of science: Microbiology
ID: 913664523.Mi

Wescodyne is an iodine based disinfectant, which affects bacteria by 
oxidizing and inactivating its cellular proteins.  Iodine disinfectants & 
antiseptics are thus able to kill a wide range of microorganisms - 
bacteria, viruses, fungi, and so on.  Because Wescodyne is also a 
detergent, it is even more effective against certain organisms.  However, 
because iodine based disinfectants must enter the bacteria to affect its 
proteins, certain strains of bacteria - such as P. aeruginosa - may be 
able to develop a resistance to disinfectants such as Wescodyne.

Triclosan, on the other hand, kills bacteria by disrupting the cell wall, 
thus preventing metabolism and reproduction processes.  It is highly 
unlikely that any bacterial strains will develop resistance to this 
method; on the other hand, Triclosan is able to affect a much small range 
of microorganisms.  It is able to target Gram-positive bacteria, such as 
S. aureus, because the cell wall tends to be unprotected.  Gram-negative 
bacteria, however, such as P. aeruginosa, has an outer membrane protecting 
the cell wall, and Triclosan is much less effective against it.

The National Institute of Health offers documents describing 
recommendations and uses for various disinfectants and antiseptics; you 
can find these by visiting their website at and 
searching for either "disinfectant" or for a specific type.

Angela Reese

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