The chemistry of disinfection

The health emergency caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) has set off alarms worldwide. Consequently, the demand for disinfectant products is increasing, requiring multiple solutions and applications for microbiological control


The main focus sought during the infection control and prevention process is to block the transmission of microorganisms. Blocking is carried out by preventing vertical transmission and preventing horizontal transmission

. Vertical transmission is the spread of pathogens from generation to generation, and the proper use of antibiotics is essential to avoid this form of feed. On the other hand, the horizontal transmission transfers resistance from one pathogen to other pathogens of the same generation or prevents the spread and expansion in its environment. The prevention of horizontal transmission is, to a greater extent, the most efficient form of infection control (Yoo, 2018). Within the management and prevention of infections, blocking horizontal transmission focuses on personal hygiene (people in their homes, workers, companies, etc.) with procedures such as hand hygiene, disinfection of the environment (cleaning and disinfection processes and or antisepsis).

Disinfection mechanisms

The disinfection mechanism carried by oxidative agents (destroying agents) and non-oxidative agents (thickening agents)


1. Oxidative agents

Oxidative agents are halogens: such as sodium hypochlorite and iodine. And others such as peracetic acid. For example, using agents such as peracetic acid generates action on DNA and RNA since it acts by taking an electron and forming free radicals. These radicals break the DNA and RNA chains, completely inactivating the microorganism they want to effect. On the other hand, oxidative agents also act on the peptide bond, taking an electron, causing a break in the functional structure, preventing its development and performance. Finally, oxidative agents affect lipids by attacking the double bonds, taking an electron, and breaking down the lipids of the microorganism into smaller fatty acids (Yoo, 2018).

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2. Non-oxidative agents

The main non-oxidative agents are Alcohol, biguanides (chlorhexidine), quaternary ammonium, phenol, aldehyde (glutaraldehyde). The action of these agents can occur on DNA and RNA since they act on the base structure. Since the DNA chains do not undergo adequate separation, that is the first pass of DNA replication, and both image and transcription Are blocked. On the other hand, the effect of non-oxidative agents also affects proteins or amino acids because aldehydes are the main actors in this mechanism. Aldehydes prefer amino acid chains such as those present in lysine, asparagine, glutamine, and arginine, which contain an amine group (-NH2) in their structure, destroying microorganisms (Yoo, 2018).

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  • PROZOL OH 100
  • PROQUAT BC 50/80
  • PROQUAT DDAC 50/80
  • PROCIDE GT 5000



Bibliographic references:

Yoo, Jin-Hong, 2018. Review of Disinfection and Sterilization – Back to the Basics. Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea. 1-9

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