So biocides kill microbes in vitro… didn’t we know that?

So as a general rule I don’t like to pick on published papers… mostly I prefer to pick on news stories, particularly of the germaphobic variety.  That being said, occasionally I see a paper that just makes me think “why is that published?”.

One of my interests is the topic of antimicrobials and antibiotic resistance in the built environment, so when I saw the title “Effects of the biocides on the culturable house dust-borne bacterial compositions and diversities” it was enough to get me to read the paper.  I’m glad that I’m at an institution with a subscription to this journal because I would have been pretty peeved if I paid money for this closed-access paper (note the lack of figures in this post… yet another sadness with closed-access papers)

Basically the authors took house dust (well, dormitory dust) and exposed it to three different biocides; copper sulfate, triclosan, and benzalkonium chloride.  They also cultured isolates from the dust and grew them in the presence of these biocides.

And their findings?

-Biocides kill bacteria in culture, more so at higher concentrations.

-Biocides kill some bacteria more than others

-Further study is warranted

Erm… didn’t we know all that?  This seems like a case where a bunch of PCoA plots, stacked bar charts, and stats are attempting to cover for the lack of an interesting experiment.

One thought on “So biocides kill microbes in vitro… didn’t we know that?

  1. Papers such as this are common in the biocide world. I’ve lost track of the number of papers I’ve reviewed about the effect of this or that essential oil on Staph. This is, I believe, a reflection of three things: One, the explosion of journals, all looking for content; Two, the lack of research money spent on understanding and developing biocides, which is not a good thing but is the reality, and Three: It also reflects the easy availability of materials with which to do some simple science in developing nations and lower tier institutions, which i think is a good thing. They are good opportunities to involve students in doing science.

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David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter