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Learning objectives

  • Describe why the phenol coefficient is used
  • Compare and contrast the disk-diffusion, use-dilution, and in-use methods for testing the effectiveness of antiseptics, disinfectants, and sterilants

The effectiveness of various chemical disinfectants is reflected in the terms used to describe them. Chemical disinfectants are grouped by the power of their activity, with each category reflecting the types of microbes and viruses its component disinfectants are effective against. High-level germicide s have the ability to kill vegetative cells, fungi, viruses, and endospores, leading to sterilization, with extended use. Intermediate-level germicides, as their name suggests, are less effective against endospores and certain viruses, and low-level germicides kill only vegetative cells and certain enveloped viruses, and are ineffective against endospores.

However, several environmental conditions influence the potency of an antimicrobial agent and its effectiveness. For example, length of exposure is particularly important, with longer exposure increasing efficacy. Similarly, the concentration of the chemical agent is also important, with higher concentrations being more effective than lower ones. Temperature, pH, and other factors can also affect the potency of a disinfecting agent.

One method to determine the effectiveness of a chemical agent includes swabbing surfaces before and after use to confirm whether a sterile field was maintained during use. Additional tests are described in the sections that follow. These tests allow for the maintenance of appropriate disinfection protocols in clinical settings, controlling microbial growth to protect patients, health-care workers, and the community.

Phenol coefficient

The effectiveness of a disinfectant or antiseptic can be determined in a number of ways. Historically, a chemical agent’s effectiveness was often compared with that of phenol, the first chemical agent used by Joseph Lister . In 1903, British chemists Samuel Rideal (1863–1929) and J. T. Ainslie Walker (1868–1930) established a protocol to compare the effectiveness of a variety of chemicals with that of phenol, using as their test organisms Staphylococcus aureus (a gram-positive bacterium) and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (a gram-negative bacterium). They exposed the test bacteria to the antimicrobial chemical solutions diluted in water for 7.5 minutes. They then calculated a phenol coefficient for each chemical for each of the two bacteria tested. A phenol coefficient of 1.0 means that the chemical agent has about the same level of effectiveness as phenol. A chemical agent with a phenol coefficient of less than 1.0 is less effective than phenol. An example is formalin , with phenol coefficients of 0.3 ( S. aureus ) and 0.7 ( S. enterica serovar Typhi). A chemical agent with a phenol coefficient greater than 1.0 is more effective than phenol, such as chloramine, with phenol coefficients of 133 and 100, respectively. Although the phenol coefficient was once a useful measure of effectiveness, it is no longer commonly used because the conditions and organisms used were arbitrarily chosen.

Questions & Answers

reactions if viruses to physical and chemical agents?
All viruses contain the following two components: 1) a nucleic acid genome and 2) a protein capsid that covers the genome. Together this is called the nucleocapsid. In addition, many animal viruses contain a 3) lipid envelope. The entire intact virus is called the virion.
assume you have performed a gram stain on a sample of pus from a patients urethra. you see red, nucleated cells and purple rods. what can you conclude
Petty Reply
Study of micro organisation which we cannot see with naked eye...
shyam Reply
Despite their bad reputation, microbes are mostly beneficial or have a neutral effect on our lives. Microbiology is the scientific study of these microorganisms. Microorganisms are those organisms that are too small to see with the naked eye and include things like bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
not 'things'...'organisms' like bacterias, viruses and fungi
simi, it's not bacterias but bacteria which is the plural form of the word while bacterium is the singular of it
bacterium is obvio in a singular form but plural of bacterium is bacterias
Richard is right it's bacterium which is the singular form and plural is bacteria. *Bacterias* doesn't exist.
what is microbiology?
Sandeep Reply
what is microbiology
is the study of small microorganisms that can't be viewed by our naked eyes under a microscope
it's the study of microbes their classification, diversity, their cellular structure and processes, their applications and interaction with other organisms.
what is EMP pathway
which organism is implicated in meningoencephalitis
Peter Reply
Herpes virus
which mold is called dairy mold?
Geotrichum candidum
which infectious agent is the smallest
spore or virus
prion ....it is a single protein in a misfolded form..there is also a theory based on it
yup...m sry
yes it can be turned as a virus
which gram positive bacteria is responsible for food poisoning?
prion is not a living organism yet it is infectoois why
prions are virus like organism. and it is a misfolded protein that may cause disease to us.
Clostridium perfringens, B.cereus
Who is the father of the biology
I have one more question. . that who is the father of botany and medicine? ? can any one tell
define polar bond in simple way
Rashmi Reply
when there is formation of positive and negative poles i.e. one atom is +ve and other is -ve which further results in the dipole moment. Such bond is know as polar bond. It is a convalent bond only.
Hi everyone, is these site only about microbiology? I want a site which I can download articles on hematological and biochemical profile
Peter Reply
I think it is only about micro biology.
so whats happening
I am about to enter school and am going for MCB
Olugbenga Reply
What is DNA damage and repair
Sree Reply
removal of nucleotide bases from DNA is damage n addition or insertion of bases in DNA is repair.
replication is a term related to generation of new DNA from a parental DNA.
role of microorganism as pathogens
Parteek Reply
to live inside the host body, reproduction n destroy the immune system of host body.
what is replication
please give me ans
replication is a term related to generation of new DNA from parental DNA.
difference between endotoxin and exotoxin
Binkheir Reply
toxins released inside the cell or a body is endotoxin n toxins released outside the cell or a body is exotoxin.
Generally, exotoxins are produced by gram positive bacteria and endotoxins are the integral part of the cell wall of gram negative bacteria. But some gram negative bacteria can also produced exotoxins such as E.coli.
Yeah u r ryt aakarti exotoxins screted by gram postive bacteria nd secreted by cell surface and they are secondary metabolites ....On the other hand endotoxin released by gram negtive bacteria nd released inside the cell (lipopolysaccharide) ..
Heat stable lipopolysaccharides to be exact.
please I want the names of bacteria and the diseases they cause.
Ibrahim Reply
there are many we classify it according to their shapes gram negative or gram positive
so u may refer the book u guess or by when u want I can do a list for you and send u here
please do a list for me
I have the lost but it's too much to type ..
MSc entrance prepare books and questions LA etha base pani irukum..
Guhan Reply
kushal always prescott is the imp book to follow.search some objective mcqs books based on your syllabus
deepthi Reply
I want to clear entrance of ms university so I have no more idea so my preparation is based on my bachlor studies.
what are the opportunistic infection in aids stage
certain cancer or pneumonia 🤔
penicillium crysogenum
Kushal 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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