Measurement of Microbiocidal Activity

Although the methods above can determine Minimum Lethal Concentrations of agents they involve prolonged contact (generally 24-48 hours) between the agent and the test organism and give no evidence of the rate of kill. Because antiseptics and disinfectants are generally required to reduce the microbial load rapidly, kill rate or suspension tests are more relevant to their intended use. In principle, such tests involve the addition of an appropriate volume of inoculum to a clinically relevant concentration of the agent followed by the testing of the viability of the culture after set periods of incubation. This basic procedure can be adapted by changing variables such as inoculum density, concentration of the test agent, contact time and presence of potential inactivators, to satisfy the testing requirements. In a study of the death kinetics of Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger treated with samples of thyme oil, it was reported that variations between oils with similar MIC values could be demonstrated by studies of death kinetics (Lattaoui and Tantaoui-Elaraki 1994).

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