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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1982 Sep;44(3):525-32.

Antimicrobial properties of diacetyl.


Diacetyl preparations from three commercial sources were found to be essentially similar when tested primarily against a set of 40 cultures, including 10 of lactic acid bacteria, 4 of yeasts, 12 of gram-positive non-lactic acid bacteria, and 14 of gram-negative bacteria. The compound was effective at pH less than or equal to 7.0 and progressively ineffective at pH greater than 7.0. The lactic acid bacteria were essentially unaffected by concentrations between 100 and 350 micrograms/ml over the pH range of 5.0 to 7.0. Of the 12 gram-positive non-lactic acid bacteria, 11 were inhibited by 300 micrograms/ml at pH less than or equal to 7.0. The three yeasts and the 13 gram-negative bacteria that grew at pH 5.5 were inhibited by 200 micrograms/ml. Diacetyl was ineffective against four clostridia under anaerobic conditions. It was lethal for gram-negative bacteria and generally inhibitory for gram-positive bacteria. Nongrowing cells were not affected. The effectiveness of diacetyl was considerably less in brain heart infusion broth, Trypticase soy agar, and cooked-meat medium than in nutrient broth or plate count agar. The antimicrobial activity was antagonized by glucose, acetate, and Tween 80 but not by gluconic acid. As an antimicrobial agent, diacetyl was clearly more effective against gram-negative bacteria, yeasts, and molds than against gram-positive bacteria.

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