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Disinfection and Sterilization Agents

For each method listed, indicate the mode of action, whether it is sporocidal, common uses, when it should not be used and any special advantages or disadvantages.

a. Phenol and penolics: bisphenolics and triclosan
b. Alcohols: isoopropanol and ethanol
c. Gaseous agents: ethylene oxide gas, chlorine dioxide gas
d. Halogens: chlorine, iodine, bromine, and flourine
e. Heavy Metals: arsenic, zinc, mercury, and silver
f. Surfactants: quaternary ammonium detergents, soaps
g. Oxidizing agents: hydrogen peroxide, ozone, and peracetic acid
h. Aldehydes: Glutaraldehyde and formaldehyde

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Phenol and Penolic

Mechanism of action - Phenol and penolic work by acting as a "protoplasmic poison" in that they penetrate and disrupt the cell wall. They also act to precipitate the proteins of the bacteria cells. In fact, they can inactivate the essential enzymes of the cell wall, and cause leakage of essential proteins from the cell wall, leading to the death of the bacterial cells.

They do not kill endospores, and are not sporocidal.

Common uses: Phenol and penolic are used as "EPA-registered disinfectants and are use to clean environmental surfaces, such as bedside tables, bedrails, and laboratory surfaces." (1) They are also used on "noncritical medical devices. " They could also be use to clean critical medical devices.

When it should not be used:
Phenol and penolic should not be used in baby nurseries because there are "reports of high level of bilirubinemia" in babies placed in bassinets where phenolic are used. (1) Phenolics and penolics should not be used to clean infant bassinets and incubators because it could be toxic for infants.

The advantages of phenol and phenolics are that they can be used as a "common bactericidal, fungicidal, virucidal, and tubercolocidal agents." (1) In other words, they can be used to kill bacteria, fungus, viral, and tubercolosis cell infections.

Bispenolics and Triclosan

Mechanisms of action - Bispenolics and triclosan are used to block the "active site of enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase enzyme (ENR), which is essential enzyme in fatty acid synthesis in bacteria." (2) The blocking of the active site of enzymes by bisphenolics and triclosan inhibit the bacteria from synthesizing fatty acid necessary for the generation of the cell membrane and reproduction. (2) Thus, bacteria cannot produce the cell membrane and cannot reproduce. (2)

Bispenolics and triclosan are not sporicidal

Common uses: They are used as antimicrobial agents that is found in antiseptic, disinfectant, and preservative. (2) They are often found in "cosmetics, plastic materials, soaps, hand-washes, mouth washes, hair conditioners, laundry detergents, toothpaste, deodorant, and facial tissues. " (2, 3)

When it should not be used:
Using an excessive amount of Bisphenolic and triclosan can have "detrimental effects on the nervous system, and may caused excessive allergies and asthma." (3) The excessive use of the Bisphenolic and triclosan products will cause the bacteria to develop drug resistance to the bisphenolic and triclosan upon repeated exposure of their usage. (2)

Bisphenolics and triclosan are used in hundreds to thousands of common commercial products. They are relatively non-toxic to humans and other mammals.
The most common problem is that bisphenolics and triclosan may promote the emergence of bacteria that develop a resistant to them. These bacteria will become resistant to these compounds when they are used a lot as a disinfectant for bacteria.

Alcohols: Isoopropanol and Ethanol

Mode of action - The mechanisms of action of alcohol in killing bacteria is that they act in the denaturation of ...

Solution Summary

All chemicals or sterilizer have physical and chemical properties which made them either sporocidal or not. These chemical detergents all have specific mechanism of actions that are either act on the bacteria directly or indirectly. Some of the examples of the nonspocidal meaning they do not kill spores are phenol and penolics, bisphenolics and triclosan, and isopropanol and ethanol. Others chemical disinfectants are sporicidal meaning they can skilled spores and all of its remains. Some examples of the sporicidal disinfectants are Oxidizing Agents, such as Hydrogen Peroxide, Ozone, and Peracetic Acid. Others that are know to be sporocidal and deadly are Aldehydes including Glutaraldehyde and Formaldehyde. Here we will review these various sterile disinfectant and examine their mode of action and efficacy on eliminating bacteria.