Antimicrobial properties of oxygen-active disinfectants

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Oxygen-active disinfectants are widely used for the nonspecific prevention of infectious diseases: hydrogen peroxide, chlorine dioxide, potassium fluoride peroxyhydrate, perborates, persulfates, perphosphates, and percarbonates. These compounds have a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity against bacteria (including Mycobacterium tuberculosis), viruses, fungi, and spores of bacilli.

The primary exposure “targets” exposure for oxygen-containing disinfectants are proteins and lipids in the cytoplasmic membranes of bacterial cells and the spore membranes of bacterial spores. When a bacterial cell is exposed to hydrogen peroxide at the stage of contact with the cytoplasmic membrane, hydrogen peroxide decomposes into highly reactive hydroxyl radicals, which have a destructive effect on the membranes. Hydroxyl radicals are powerful oxidizing agents, have a short existence and interact with lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. Lipid oxidation, mainly unsaturated fatty acids, leads to increased membrane permeability. During the membrane protein oxidation consisting of amino acids with disulfide bonds, the latter are converted into –SH-radicals, forming cross-links at amino groups and resulting in protein-lipid complexes. The proteins are oxidized and denatured, leading to cell death. Hydroxyl radicals and other intermediate decomposition products of hydrogen peroxide, such as hydronium cation (Н3О+) and perhydroxylanion (НО2-), have damaging effects.

This article analyzes scientific papers on the mechanism of action of oxygen-active disinfectants on vegetative cells and bacterial spores.

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About the authors

Vladimir N. Gerasimov

State Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0473-7785
SPIN-code: 8666-4481

Dr. Sci. (Biol.)

Russian Federation, Obolensk

Galina G. Kharseeva

Rostov State Medical University

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6226-2183
SPIN-code: 7740-4921

MD, Dr. Sci. (Med.), Professor

Russian Federation, 29 Nakhichevan alleyway, 344022 Rostov-on-Don

Aigul R. Gaitrafimova

State Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9113-7322
SPIN-code: 2791-3786
Russian Federation, Obolensk

Elena V. Bystrova

State Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1941-0793
SPIN-code: 9080-2775
Russian Federation, Obolensk

Ludmila S. Fedorova

Research Institute for Systems Biology and Medicine

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3345-2631
SPIN-code: 3042-0126

MD, Dr. Sci. (Med.), Professor

Russian Federation, Moscow


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Supplementary files

Supplementary Files
1. Fig. 1. Damaging effect of hydrogen peroxide on the surface layers of gram-negative bacteria: 1 ― outer membrane; 2 ― pepdidoglycan; 3 ― periplasmic space; 4 ― cytoplasmic membrane; 5 ― ribosomes; 6 ― cytoplasm; 7 ― nucleoid; 8 ― integral protein.

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2. Fig. 2. Damaging effect of hydrogen peroxide on the cell wall of gram-positive bacteria: 1 ― peptidoglycan; 2 ― periplasmic space; 3 ― cytoplasmic membrane; 4 ― cytoplasm; 5 ― nucleoid; 6 ― ribosomes; 7 ― integral protein.

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3. Fig. 3. Damaging effect of hydrogen peroxide on the surface layers of bacterial spores: 1 ― exosporium; 2 ― layers of the spore shell; 3 ― the outer membrane of the spore; 4 ― the inner membrane of the spore; 5 ― the cortex; 6 ― the core.

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