The antimicrobial effect of dissociated and undissociated sorbic acid at different pH levels

J Appl Bacteriol. 1983 Jun;54(3):383-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.1983.tb02632.x.


The minimum inhibitory concentration of sorbic acid has been determined for Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans. The inhibition was shown to be due to both undissociated and dissociated acid, and the effect of each has been calculated in accordance with a proposed mathematical model. Although the inhibitory action of undissociated acid was 10-600 times greater than that of dissociated acid, the latter caused more than 50% of the growth inhibition at pH levels above 6 for most of the organisms tested.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus cereus / drug effects
  • Bacillus subtilis / drug effects
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Mathematics
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Sorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects


  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Sorbic Acid