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J Ind Microbiol. 1995 Dec;15(6):486-92.

Sporicidal action of peracetic acid and protective effects of transition metal ions.

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Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, NY 14642-8672, USA.


Although peracetic acid (PAA) is used widely for cold sterilization and disinfection, its mechanisms of sporicidal action are poorly understood. PAA at high concentrations (5-10%) can cause major loss of optical absorbance and microscopically-visible damage to bacterial spores. Spores killed by lower levels of PAA (0.02-0.05%) showed no visible damage and remained refractile. Treatment of spores of Bacillus megaterium ATCC 19213 with PAA at concentrations close to the lethal level sensitized the cells to subsequent heat killing. In addition, PAA was found to act in concert with hypochlorite and iodine to kill spores. Antioxidant sulfhydryl compounds or ascorbate protected spores against PAA killing. Trolox, a water-soluble form of alpha-tocopherol, was somewhat protective, while other antioxidants, including alpha-tocopherol, urate, bilirubin, ampicillin and ethanol were not protective. Chelators, including dipicolinate, were not protective, but transition metal ions, especially the reduced forms (Co2+, Cu+ and Fe2+) were highly protective. The net conclusions are that organic radicals formed from PAA are sporicidal and that they may act as reducing agents for spores that are normally in a highly oxidized state, in addition to their well known actions as oxidizing agents in causing damage to vegetative cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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