Injury and Recovery of Escherichia Coli ATCC 8739 From Treatment With Some Polyhexamethylene Biguanides

Microbios. 1984;40(161-162):187-93.


The action of some polyhexamethylene biguanides upon Escherichia coli has been investigated. An amine-ended-dimer (n = 2), a polydisperse mixture (n = 5.5) and a high molecular weight fraction (n greater than 10) of the compounds were employed. The three compounds caused damage and disruption of the cell envelope indicated by changes in permeability towards the dye 2-p-toluidinylnaphthylene-6-sulphonate. This damage was shown to be reversible below certain critical concentrations of the biocides. Prolongation of treatment time did not increase the extent of non-recoverable injury nor influence those critical concentrations of biocide initiating it. Recovery processes were rapid and complete within 1 min. The inclusion of an inhibitor of respiration, antimycin A, in the recovery medium did not reduce the rate of recovery by damaged cells.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antimycin A / pharmacology
  • Biguanides / pharmacology*
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / ultrastructure
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Naphthalenesulfonates / metabolism


  • Biguanides
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Naphthalenesulfonates
  • polihexanide
  • Antimycin A
  • 2-(4-toluidino)-6-naphthalenesulfonic acid
  • Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases