A bactericide or bacteriocide, sometimes abbreviated Bcidal, is a substance that kills bacteria. Bactericides are disinfectants, antiseptics, or antibiotics.[1]


The most used disinfectants are those applying


As antiseptics (i.e., germicide agents that can be used on human or animal body, skin, mucoses, wounds and the like), few of the above-mentioned disinfectants can be used, under proper conditions (mainly concentration, pH, temperature and toxicity toward humans and animals). Among them, some important are

Others are generally not applicable as safe antiseptics, either because of their corrosive or toxic nature.


Bactericidal antibiotics kill bacteria; bacteriostatic antibiotics slow their growth or reproduction.

Bactericidal antibiotics that inhibit cell wall synthesis: the beta-lactam antibiotics (penicillin derivatives (penams), cephalosporins (cephems), monobactams, and carbapenems) and vancomycin.

Also bactericidal are daptomycin, fluoroquinolones, metronidazole, nitrofurantoin, co-trimoxazole, telithromycin.

Aminoglycosidic antibiotics are usually considered bactericidal, although they may be bacteriostatic with some organisms

The distinction between bactericidal and bacteriostatic agents appears to be clear according to the basic/clinical definition, but this only applies under strict laboratory conditions and it is important to distinguish microbiological and clinical definitions.[2] The distinction is more arbitrary when agents are categorized in clinical situations. The supposed superiority of bactericidal agents over bacteriostatic agents is of little relevance when treating the vast majority of infections with gram-positive bacteria, particularly in patients with uncomplicated infections and noncompromised immune systems. Bacteriostatic agents have been effectively used for treatment that are considered to require bactericidal activity. Furthermore, some broad classes of antibacterial agents considered bacteriostatic can exhibit bactericidal activity against some bacteria on the basis of in vitro determination of MBC/MIC values. At high concentrations, bacteriostatic agents are often bactericidal against some susceptible organisms. The ultimate guide to treatment of any infection must be clinical outcome.


  1. ^ McDonnell, G; Russell, AD (1999). "Antiseptics and Disinfectants: Activity, Action, and Resistance". Clin Microbiol Rev. 12 (1): 147–179. PMC 88911Freely accessible. PMID 9880479. 
  2. ^ Pankey, GA; Sabath, LD (2004). "Clinical Relevance of Bacteriostatic versus Bactericidal Mechanisms of Action in the Treatment of Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections". Clin Infect Dis. 38 (6): 864–870. doi:10.1086/381972. PMID 14999632. 

See also