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Int J Food Microbiol. 2013 Mar 1;162(1):13-25. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2012.12.028. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

Biocide tolerance in bacteria.

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Área de Microbiología, Departamento de Ciencias de la Salud, Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales, Universidad de Jaén, 23071-Jaén, Spain.


Biocides have been employed for centuries, so today a wide range of compounds showing different levels of antimicrobial activity have become available. At the present time, understanding the mechanisms of action of biocides has also become an important issue with the emergence of bacterial tolerance to biocides and the suggestion that biocide and antibiotic resistance in bacteria might be linked. While most of the mechanisms providing antibiotic resistance are agent specific, providing resistance to a single antimicrobial or class of antimicrobial, there are currently numerous examples of efflux systems that accommodate and, thus, provide tolerance to a broad range of structurally unrelated antimicrobials, both antibiotics and biocides. If biocide tolerance becomes increasingly common and it is linked to antibiotic resistance, not only resistant (even multi-resistant) bacteria could be passed along the food chain, but also there are resistance determinants that can spread and lead to the emergence of new resistant microorganisms, which can only be detected and monitored when the building blocks of resistance traits are understood on the molecular level. This review summarizes the main advances reached in understanding the mechanism of action of biocides, the mechanisms of bacterial resistance to both biocides and antibiotics, and the incidence of biocide tolerance in bacteria of concern to human health and the food industry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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