25 de fevereiro de 2013

               Vinegar versus Popular Disinfectants Against Pathogenic Bacteria.
                                                        Jaqueline B.

Image from tarotistasc.com


Vinegar versus Popular Disinfectants Against Pathogenic Bacterium.


         According to the World Health Organization, WHO, diseases caused by pathological 
bacterium cause thousands of deaths around the world every year (WHO, Bacterial Infections). With that information in mind, one can see how much money the food industry needs to invest to find better ways to protect us from contamination in our food supply. Furthermore, there are billions of dollars to be made from the real damage and psychological fear of what some of these microscopic organisms do to our health (PRweb). Every day, companies develop new disinfectant products and spend millions in advertising exploiting our fears promising to kill 99.9% of all germs that cause disease on contact. Additionally, some of these products are more detrimental to our health and the environment than the bacteria they allegedly kill. According to the Poison Control Centers and WHO, there are thousands of children who are poisoned because of accidental ingestion of cleaning products every year (WHO, World Report On Child Injury Prevention). Also, most of these products are toxic and may contain carcinogenic agents and 
people with upper respiratory problems should avoid them all together. Lysol, for instance, has as its main ingredients denatured alcohol, which is very flammable and although in small amounts it contain mercury according to EPA, which is horrible for the environment ( U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). Cidecon has in its formula Para-Tert-amylphenol classified by EPA’s product labels as highly toxic. In its formula it has ortho-benzyl-para-chlorophenol, 
which in chronic studies induces increases in kidney nephropathy and is a possible human carcinogen according to EPA (EPA, Pesticides And Toxic Substances EPA). Lastly, 7th Generation cleaner which advertises as being green and natural has copper sulfate in its chemical formula which if ingested may cause injury to the brain, stomach , liver and kidneys, and is also
dangerous to the environment (EPA, Guidance for reregistration of pesticide products containing copper sulfate). The question is, can people save money, protect the environment and themselves, and obtain the same antibacterial results with the use of vinegar? 

        Vinegar has been used for centuries as an antibacterial agent, but was forgotten by most in
our modern culture. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vinegar can be used effectively to kill certain types of pathogenic bacteria such as S. Typhi and E.coli 53, 332, 333 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Ancient cultures, such as China promote the advantages of vinegar for disease Prevention. According to the Department of Preventive Medicine, Qingdao University Medical College, the efficiency of vinegar against Staphylococcus, Escherichia, Candida albicans is intensive ( Medical Journal of Qilu). Additionally, a study of Nakano Central Research Institute in Japan shows that vinegar inhibited the growth of 34 strains of bacteria ( US National Library of Medicine).

      The hypotheses of this study is to prove that vinegar can be as potent as popular, highly distributed products such as Lysol, 7th Generation Cleaner and Cidecon in the fight against pathogenic bacterium and a better alternative for the environment. To test this hypotheses, bacteria Serratia Marcescens, known to cause catheter-associated bacteremia, urinary infections and wound infections in people, will be used to show growth or decline in culture numbers after the use of vinegar versus the three popular disinfectants.
      Materials and Methods:

Bacterium Serratia and samples of disinfectants Lysol, 7th Generation Cleaner and Cidecon
were obtained from the Biology Laboratory at PCC. Procedures were obtained from Investigating Biology Manual (Judith Giles Morgan 2010).

     Preparation of bacterial cultures:

     Serratia were carefully streaked onto agar media following aseptic Protocol. Next, culture was 
spread evenly over the surface of the growth medium to create a bacterium lawn. Disks with Lysol, 7th Generation Cleaner and Cidecon were dipped into test solutions including a disc with a control solution of pure water, and placed into plate with Serratia for incubation. Incubation period was 48 hours at 37 degree Celsius. After the incubation period, the plate was removed from the incubator and zones of inhibitions were measured in mm to test for bacterial sensitivity to Lysol, 7th Generation Cleaner and Cidecon, vinegar and water for comparison.


     According to the results, Serratia demonstrated to be sensitive to all disinfectants in the experiment but the control water. Average zone of inhibition varied from 5.8 mm to 13.5 mm.

     The results supported the hypothesis; vinegar is a viable substitute for several toxic chemicals disinfectants as Lysol, 7th generation and Cidecon as previous studies appointed. The control presented no zone of inhibition as it was expected. Popular disinfectant 7Th generation presented the smallest zone of inhibition at 5.8 mm followed by Lysol. Bacterium Serratia was 
most sensitive to vinegar at 13.5mm.

Average size of zone of inhibition in mm.
10.5 mm
13.5 mm
12.3 mm
7th generation
5.83 mm
0 mm


     The results obtained from this experiment are very important for several reasons. As a
society we can do our share to help to protect the environment our home and our health from toxic products that are truly not necessary for the everyday home cleaning. The removal of products with toxic and cancer promoting chemical formulas will help to save hundreds if not thousands of children from accidental poisoning and will also make the home safer for people with upper respiratory problems.Furthermore, vinegar is a safer and green alternative to use to clean our fruits and vegetables. Products such as Lysol, 7th generation and Cidecon are too toxic to be used in our food. However, vinegar is a perfect substitute and as the results confirmed it will kill bacteria.Additionally, more research should be made for the investigation of greener alternatives for home cleaning supplies. To have toxic chemicals in the house around children is not safe or even necessary. More awareness should be brought to the attention of the consumers that are blinded from the intense advertising campaigns from the huge multinationals which just want more profit. 

       Moreover, a Brazilian study on safe and affordable antimicrobial methods for tooth brushes had similar results with vinegar reducing substantially S. aureus, S. mutans and S. pyogenes, in their trials with a 50% vinegar solution, although, not all pathogenic bacterium 
strains were sensitive to vinegar ( Komiyama, 2010). Likewise, Inhibition of Vaginal Micro-flora with vinegar presented very good results in another study, but once again not all bacterium strains were sensitive to it, lactobacilli in this study was resistant to vinegar (Pavlova, 1999).Certainly improvements can be obtained in next studies by reasserting a larger variety of bacterium cultures. The more we know, the more we can improve public awareness about toxic chemicals and their real need in one’s daily life. Although this study presented relevant information about toxicity of several daily cleaning products, it would be important to understand the mechanisms of bacterium sensitivity in more depth, so companies can develop 
safer and greener products and market them as being very effective as well.
Work Cited
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization

in Healthcare Facilities”. http://www.cdc.gov/hicpac/pdf/guidelines/disinfection_nov_2008.pdf.
Accessed Feb. 18. 2013.

Judith Giles Morgan, M. Eloise Brown Carter. 2010 .Investigating Biology Laboratory

Manual 7th Edition . Bacteriology 13: 341-342.

Pavlova S.I, Tao L. Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology,Volume 8 (2000),
Issue 2, Pages 99-104. In Vitro Inhibition of Commercial Douche Products Against Vaginal
Microflora. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/idog/2000/609038/abs/. Acessed Feb.2013.

KOMIYAMA, Edson Yukio; BACK-BRITO, Graziella Nuernberg; BALDUCCI,

Ivan and KOGA-ITO, Cristiane Yumi. Evaluation of alternative methods for the disinfection of toothbrushes. Braz. oral res. [online]. 2010, vol.24, n.1, pp. 28-33. http://www.scielo.br/pdf/bor/v24n1/a05v24n1.pdf. Acessed Feb. 2013.

Medical Journal of Qilu. Department of Preventive Medicine, Qingdao University Medical College. “Edible Vinegar: Its Bactericidal Action And Efficacy”. http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTOTAL-SPAN2004.htm.
PRweb. Online Visibility from Vocus. “Increasing Health Awareness and Product 

Innovations Drives the US Hand Sanitizers Market, According to New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.” 2012 Sep.http://www.prweb.com/releases/hand_sanitizers/natural_alcohol_based/prweb9945346.htm. Accessed Feb. 18, 2013.

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.1998, Aug. “Antibacterial action of vinegar against food-borne pathogenic bacteria including Escherichia coli O157:H7.”

Nakano Central Research Institute. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9713753. Accessed Feb 18, 2013.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Prevention, Pesticides And Toxic Substances EPA-738-F-96-027. Dec 1995. ORTHO-BENZYL-PCHLOROPHENOL. Accessed Feb. 18, 2013.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Reducing Mercury Health Care. 1998. Table 6. Mercury Content of Selected Cleaning Products. 

http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/bns/mercury/pdfs/reducing-mercury-healthcare-1998.pdf.Accessed Feb. 18, 2013.

U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. “1986 Guidance for reregistration of pesticide products containing copper sulfate”. Fact sheet no 100. Office of Pesticide Programs. Washington, DC.

World Health Organization. Initiative for Vaccine Research (IVR). “Bacterial Infections”.http://www.who.int/vaccine_research/diseases/soa_bacterial/en/index1.html. Accessed Feb. 18, 2013.

World Health Organization. World Report On Child Injury Prevention. “Chapter 6 Poisoning.http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/child/injury/world_report/Poisoning.pdf. Accessed Feb. 18, 2013.

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