Antibacterial efficacy of triclosan-incorporated polymers

Am J Infect Control. 2001 Apr;29(2):124-5. doi: 10.1067/mic.2001.113229.


Triclosan (2, 4, 4'-trichloro-2'-hydroxydiphenyl ether) is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent, routinely used in various personal care products.(1) It is also incorporated into polymers through melt-mixing, with the aim of providing persistent antibacterial action on the surface of the polymer.(2,3) Such triclosan-incorporated polymers can be promoted for hospital use as fabric seat covers, tables, chairs, and clothing. We assessed the antibacterial efficacy of triclosan-incorporated polymer disks against 2 bacteria cultured in liquids in contact with the polymer. In spite of the relatively high concentrations of triclosan in the polymer, only some initial slowing of the bacterial growth rates was observed, followed by the absence of an antibacterial effect over extended periods. The triclosan at the surface of the disks dissolves into the liquids, and the rest of the triclosan, immobilized in the disks, does not contribute to the antibacterial effectiveness of triclosan-incorporated polymer. In light of recent studies, which have shown that triclosan acts on a specific target within the bacterial lipid synthesis pathway, triclosan-incorporated polymers may provide the ideal setting for resistant strains of bacteria to grow and thus should be used selectively in hospital environments.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / analysis
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / standards*
  • Bacillus thuringiensis / drug effects*
  • Bacillus thuringiensis / growth & development
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / analysis
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / standards*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing
  • Polystyrenes / analysis
  • Polystyrenes / standards*
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Triclosan / analysis
  • Triclosan / pharmacology*
  • Triclosan / standards*


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Polystyrenes
  • Triclosan