The impact of the various chemical and physical factors on the degradation rate of bronopol

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2012 Oct;34(5):451-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2012.00730.x. Epub 2012 Jun 21.


Bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol) is used as preservative in cosmetic industry. Its main role in commercial products consists in protection of the cosmetic composition stability by inhibiting the development of micro-organisms. Unfortunately, preservatives can also undergo the degradation processes. The aim of examinations was to prove that bronopol decomposes in aqueous solutions and storage conditions have a significance influence on its degradation rate. High-performance liquid chromatography method (methanol/water with hydrochloric acid 5:95 v/v) with spectrophotometric detection (210 nm) was used for examining the decomposition rate of bronopol. The impact of chemical (addition of cosmetics components: citric acid and/or sodium dodecylsulfate) and physical (elevated and ambient temperature, sunlight or ultraviolet radiation and air access) factors has been elaborated. Bronopol decomposes most rapidly (independently on the sample surrounding conditions) when it is in solution with sodium dodecylsulfate, the inverse dependence is observed in the presence of two compounds - citric acid and sodium dodecylsulfate. Additionally, the elevated temperature causes the acceleration of decomposition. Bronopol degradation by-products were also identified as methanol, formic acid, tris(hydroxymethyl)methane and 2-bromo-2-nitroethanol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Citric Acid / chemistry
  • Cosmetics / chemistry*
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical / chemistry*
  • Propylene Glycols / chemistry*
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate / chemistry


  • Cosmetics
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical
  • Propylene Glycols
  • Citric Acid
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate
  • bronopol