• Günter KampfEmail author


Ethanol has comprehensive bactericidal and yeasticidal activity at 78–85% within 30 s, whereas some food-associated fungi require at least 10 min. Ethanol has also mycobactericidal activity at ≥70% within 30 s to 5 min depending on the species and ethanol concentration. High MIC values indicating resistance to ethanol have so far not been reported. An epidemiological cut-off value to determine acquired resistance has not been proposed yet. No specific resistance mechanisms are currently known for ethanol, and no cross-tolerance to antibiotics has been reported. Low-level ethanol exposure (1–6%) can increase biofilm formation in S. aureus and S. epidermidis, and 2.5% ethanol can increase surface attachment in L. monocytogenes. Ethanol at 5–8% can reduce the susceptibility to lethal ethanol concentrations in L. monocytogenes, Pseudomonas spp. and S. cerevisiae. In B. subtilis, ethanol at 4% can cause a 5-fold increase of mobile genetic element transfer (resistance genes). Ethanol can increase biofilm formation in S. aureus and S. epidermidis. It can also reduce biofilm formation in MRSA, T. asahii and mixed biofilms. Biofilm removal by ethanol is often <50% (B. cenocepacia, P. aeruginosa, S. liquefaciens, S. putrefaciens, S. aureus or triple species biofilms).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Hygiene and Environmental MedicineUniversity of GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany

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