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Disinfectants and antiseptics: mechanisms of action and resistance

Maillard, Jean-Yves ORCID: and Pascoe, Michael ORCID: 2024. Disinfectants and antiseptics: mechanisms of action and resistance. Nature Reviews Microbiology 22 , pp. 4-17. 10.1038/s41579-023-00958-3

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Chemical biocides are used for the prevention and control of infection in health care, targeted home hygiene or controlling microbial contamination for various industrial processes including but not limited to food, water and petroleum. However, their use has substantially increased since the implementation of programmes to control outbreaks of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridioides difficile and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Biocides interact with multiple targets on the bacterial cells. The number of targets affected and the severity of damage will result in an irreversible bactericidal effect or a reversible bacteriostatic one. Most biocides primarily target the cytoplasmic membrane and enzymes, although the specific bactericidal mechanisms vary among different biocide chemistries. Inappropriate usage or low concentrations of a biocide may act as a stressor while not killing bacterial pathogens, potentially leading to antimicrobial resistance. Biocides can also promote the transfer of antimicrobial resistance genes. In this Review, we explore our current understanding of the mechanisms of action of biocides, the bacterial resistance mechanisms encompassing both intrinsic and acquired resistance and the influence of bacterial biofilms on resistance. We also consider the impact of bacteria that survive biocide exposure in environmental and clinical contexts.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Pharmacy
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 1740-1526
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 October 2023
Date of Acceptance: 28 July 2023
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2024 06:15

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