Disinfectants are antimicrobial agents designed to inactivate or destroy microorganisms on inert surfaces Disinfection does not necessarily kill all microorganisms, especially resistant bacterial spores; it is less effective than sterilization, which is an extreme physical and/or chemical process that kills all types of life. Disinfectants are different from other antimicrobial agents such as antibiotics, which destroy microorganisms within the body, and antiseptics, which destroy microorganisms on living tissue. Disinfectants are also different from biocides — the latter are intended to destroy all forms of life, not just microorganisms. Disinfectants work by destroying the cell wall of microbes or interfering with their metabolism.
Sanitizers are substances that simultaneously clean and disinfect. Disinfectants kill more germs than sanitizers. Disinfectants are frequently used in hospitals, dental surgeries, kitchens, and bathrooms to kill infectious organisms.
Bacterial endospores are most resistant to disinfectants, but some fungi, viruses and bacteria also possess some resistance.
Disinfectants are used to rapidly kill bacteria. They kill off the bacteria by causing the proteins to become damaged and outer layers of the bacteria cell to rupture. The DNA material subsequently leaks out.
In wastewater treatment, a disinfection step with chlorine, ultra-violet (UV) radiation or ozonation can be included as tertiary treatment to remove pathogens from wastewater, for example if it is to be discharged to a river or the sea where there body contact immersion recreations is practiced (Europe) or reused to irrigate golf courses (US). An alternative term used in the sanitation sector for disinfection of waste streams, sewage sludge or fecal sludge is sanitisation or sanitization.
A perfect disinfectant would also offer complete and full microbiological sterilisation, without harming humans and useful form of life, be inexpensive, and noncorrosive. However, most disinfectants are also, by nature, potentially harmful (even toxic) to humans or animals. Most modern household disinfectants contain denatonium, an exceptionally bitter substance added to discourage ingestion, as a safety measure.
- Why are disinfectants made?
- How do disinfectants kill off the bacteria?
- Which statement/s is /are true?
- What is the alternative term used in the sanitation sector for disinfection of waste streams, sewage sludge or fecal sludge ?
- Which are the most resistant to disinfectants?