Vinegar Effective Disinfectant Against M tuberculosis


Economical, non-toxic and effective for cleaning; vinegar* has many uses.

A 6% Acetic acid effectively kills M.tuberculosis and 10% acetic acid substantially reduced other mycobacteria with a 30 min. exposure.

*food grade vinegar is 5% acetic acid.

Acetic Acid, the Active Component of Vinegar, Is an Effective Tuberculocidal Disinfectant


Mycobacteria are best known for causing tuberculosis and leprosy, but infections with nontuberculous mycobacteria are an increasing problem after surgical or cosmetic procedures or in the lungs of cystic fibrosis and immunosuppressed patients. Killing mycobacteria is important because Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains can be multidrug resistant and therefore potentially fatal biohazards, and environmental mycobacteria must be thoroughly eliminated from surgical implements and respiratory equipment. Currently used mycobactericidal disinfectants can be toxic, unstable, and expensive. We fortuitously found that acetic acid kills mycobacteria and then showed that it is an effective mycobactericidal agent, even against the very resistant, clinically important Mycobacterium abscessus complex. Vinegar has been used for thousands of years as a common disinfectant, and if it can kill mycobacteria, the most disinfectant-resistant bacteria, it may prove to be a broadly effective, economical biocide with potential usefulness in health care settings and laboratories, especially in resource-poor countries.


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