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18.2: Evaluation of Disinfectants, Antiseptics, and Sanitizers

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    It is possible to evaluate disinfectants, antiseptics, and sanitizers using either in vitro or in vivo tests. An in vitro test is one done under artificial, controlled laboratory conditions. An in vivo test is one done under the actual conditions of normal use.

    A common in vitro test is to compare the antimicrobial activity of the agent being tested with that of phenol. The resulting value is called a phenol coefficient and has some value in comparing the strength of disinfectants under standard conditions. Phenol coefficients may be misleading, however, because as mentioned earlier, the killing rate varies greatly with the conditions under which the chemical agents are used. The concentration of the agent, the temperature at which it is being used, the length of exposure to the agent, the number and kinds of microorganisms present, and the nature of the material bearing the microorganisms all influence the antimicrobial activity of a disinfectant. If a disinfectant is being evaluated for possible use in a given in vivo situation, it must be evaluated under the same conditions in which it will be used.

    Contributors and Attributions


    This page titled 18.2: Evaluation of Disinfectants, Antiseptics, and Sanitizers is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gary Kaiser.

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