Monday 31 October 2022

Disinfectant resistance: The next threat to pharmaceutical contamination control?


Since the early 2000s there has been a number of research papers looking into the subject of disinfectant resistance across different genera of bacteria. While earlier papers were speculative; later reviews were based on laboratory studies. The disinfectants against which bacterial resistance has been characterised include iodophors, quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC), peroxides, phenols, chlorine, and glutaraldehyde (to which potential resistance against alcohols has more recently emerged). This ground has shifted further within the past couple of years with empirical data reported that indicates that some bacteria can develop resistance to many types of disinfectants (and, according to some studies, this phenomenon is progressing at a rapid rate).


The pace at which disinfectant resistance is spreading is probably a consequence of the over-use of biocides (as is the case with antibiotics). As this evolutionary pressure continues, this could create new pressures and concern for sectors that rely upon the use of disinfectants for hygiene control: hospitals, biosecurity, food, pharmaceuticals and so on.



Sandle, T. (2021) Disinfectant resistance: The next threat to pharmaceutical contamination control?, European Journal of Parenteral and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 26 (3), DOI:


Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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