Clinical microbiology and infection : the official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Assessing the residual antibacterial activity of clinical materials disinfected with glutaraldehyde, o-phthalaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide or 2-bromo-2-nitro-1,3-propanediol by means of a bacterial toxicity assay.

PMID 15522001


This study investigated the use of a rapid bacterial toxicity test for detecting disinfectant residues released by disinfected materials. The test substances included an environmental disinfectant used in hospitals in high-risk areas, such as critical care units or emergency services, and three disinfectants used on clinical devices when a high level of disinfection is required. The test materials were polyurethane, polypropylene, glass, latex and cotton from different instruments and utensils used in hospitals. Of the four test disinfectants, o-phthalaldehyde (OPA) and 2-bromo-2-nitro-1,3-propanediol (BNP) showed the greatest inhibitory activity (as much as 300-fold greater than hydrogen peroxide in the case of OPA) according to the toxicity text. However, with the exception of hydrogen peroxide on latex, it was the most porous test materials, namely latex and cotton, that accumulated the least residue. BNP was the disinfectant that left the least residue on the five test materials, while the greatest residual concentration was left by hydrogen peroxide on latex (as much as 5 microg/cm2). The biotest used in this study permitted the detection of disinfectant residues released by different types of previously disinfected clinical materials, and can be adapted to simulate elution conditions similar to those existing in routine hospital practice.

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