Antimicrobial agents

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Antimicrobial agents

Chemical compounds biosynthetically or synthetically produced which either destroy or usefully suppress the growth or metabolism of a variety of microscopic or submicroscopic forms of life. On the basis of their primary activity, they are more specifically called antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, antiparasitic, or antiviral agents. Antibacterials which destroy are bactericides or germicides; those which merely suppress growth are bacteriostatic agents. See Antibiotic

Of the thousands of antimicrobial agents, only a small number are safe chemotherapeutic agents, effective in controlling infectious diseases in plants, animals, and humans. A much larger number are used in almost every phase of human activity: in agriculture, food preservation, and water, skin, and air disinfection. A compilation of some common uses for antimicrobials is shown in the table.

Common antimicrobial agents and their uses
Use Agents
(animals and humans)
Antibacterials Sulfonamides, isoniazid,
p-aminosalicylic acid, penicillin,
streptomycin, tetracyclines,
chloramphenicol, erythromycin,
novobiocin, neomycin, bacitracin,
Antiparasitics (humans) Emetine, quinine
Antiparasitics (animal) Hygromycin, phenothiazine, piperazine
Antifungals Griseofulvin, nystatin
Chemotherapeutics (plants) Captan (N-trichlorothio-
tetrahydrophthalimide), maneb
(manganese ethylene
bisdithiocarbamate), thiram
(tetramethylthiuram disulfide)
Skin disinfectants Alcohols, iodine, mercurials, silver
compounds, quaternary
ammonium compounds, neomycin
Water disinfectants Chlorine, sodium hypochlorite
Air disinfectants Propylene glycol, lactic acid,
glycolic acid, levulinic acid
Gaseous disinfectants Ethylene oxide, β-propiolactone,
Clothing disinfectants Neomycin
Animal-growth stimulants Penicillin, streptomycin, bacitracin,
tetracyclines, hygromycin
Food preservatives Sodium benzoate, tetracycline

The most important antimicrobial discovery of all time, that of the chemotherapeutic value of penicillin, was made in 1938. In the next 20 years, more than a score of new and useful microbially produced antimicrobials entered into daily use. New synthetic antimicrobials are found today by synthesis of a wide variety of compounds, followed by broad screening against many microorganisms. Biosynthetic antimicrobials, although first found in bacteria, fungi, and plants, are now being discovered primarily in actinomycetes.

Antimicrobial agents contain various functional groups. No particular structural type seems to favor antimicrobial activity. The search for correlation of structure with biological activity goes on, but no rules have yet appeared with which to forecast activity from contemplated structural changes. On the contrary, minor modifications may lead to unexpected loss of activity.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Guide was presented at the OIE Global Conference on the Responsible and Prudent Use of Antimicrobial Agents for Animals, an important opportunity to disseminate the Guide's key messages.
Antimicrobial agents are naturally occurring, semi-synthetic and synthetic compounds with antimicrobial activity that are used in human and veterinary medicine to prevent and treat infections and for growth promotion in food animals.
aeruginosa may be treated with antimicrobial agents from three major groups based on mechanism of action: aminoglycosides (interference with protein synthesis) such as tobramycin or amikacin; beta-lactams (inhibition of cell wall synthesis) such as piperacillin, ticarcillin, 3rd and 4th generation cephalosporins (ceftazidime and cefepime), and carbapenems like imipenem or meropenem; or fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin) (interference with nucleic acid replication).
The antimicrobial agents in the clay poke a hole in the cell wall of the bacterium, causing the bacterium to leak to death.
DANMAP has 4 objectives: 1) monitor the consumption of antimicrobial agents for food animals and humans; 2) monitor the occurrence of antimicrobial agent resistance in bacteria isolated from food animals, food of animal origin, and humans; 3) study associations between antimicrobial agent consumption and antimicrobial agent resistance; and 4) identify routes of transmission and areas for further research.
The Food and Drug Administration's General Hospital and Personal Use Devices Advisory Panel met in May to address the scientific and clinical concerns, related to the safety and performance of these devices, that would be raised by the addition of antimicrobial agents.
FIRE WITH FIRE At the December conference on antimicrobial agents, Gerding described new tests conducted on a strain of C.
Which antimicrobial agents should be routinely tested and reported on S pneumoniae?
Baghdachi, Eastern Michigan University; and "Chitosan-based polymeric core-shell particles as antimicrobial agents for cotton," Pei Li, Weijun Ye, Man-Fai Leung, John Xin, Tsz-Leung Kwong and Kam-Len Lee, Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Yeaman suggests that learning how nature has evolved antimicrobial agents may allow scientists to use the [gamma]-core motif or mimetics thereof as the scaffold that will guide the right peptide or molecule to the right target.
Meditech is a drug development company focused on the development of human, veterinary and agricultural antimicrobial agents.
The elements of management include cleansing the ear to facilitate diagnosis, identifying the infecting organism (by clinical or bacteriologic means), and applying appropriate antimicrobial agents.

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