Binding of Some Polyhexamethylene Biguanides to the Cell Envelope of Escherichia Coli ATCC 8739

Microbios. 1984;41(163):15-22.


Absorption and antibacterial action of some polyhexamethylene biguanides upon Escherichia coli has been investigated. An amine-ended-dimer (AED) (n = 2), a polydisperse mixture sold by ICI Limited as the active ingredient of vantocil IB (PHMB) (n = 5.5), and a high molecular weight fraction of PHMB (HMW, n greater than or equal to 10) were used. Bactericidal activity was determined over a range of pH (5-9). Similarly, adsorption of drug to the cell surface, indicated by changes in electrophoretic mobility, and overall drug absorption by the cells were determined. Maximal activity occurred at pH 6 for PHMB and HMW and at pH 5 for AED. This corresponded to minimal surface adsorption and maximal distribution of drug to the underlying cytoplasm and cytoplasmic membrane. Uptake of drug corresponded to high affinity isotherms and indicated a rapid transfer of biocide into the cells following their initial interaction at the surface.

MeSH terms

  • Biguanides / metabolism*
  • Biguanides / pharmacology
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Disinfectants / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lipopolysaccharides / metabolism


  • Biguanides
  • Disinfectants
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • polihexanide