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"Bactericides kill bacteria". What is the meaning of "killing" in this context, and how exactly is this "killing" happening chemically?

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closed as too broad by MattDMo, WYSIWYG Aug 21 '15 at 19:17

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ This is rather broad. Each bactericidal agent has a different mechanism of action. For example, alcohol denatures proteins necessary for function and the lipids in the plasma membrane dissolve into the alcohol. "Iodine can penetrate the cell wall of microorganisms quickly, and the lethal effects are believed to result from disruption of protein and nucleic acid structure and synthesis." [CDC] $\endgroup$ – CKM Aug 20 '15 at 19:05
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Each bactericidal agent has a different mechanism of action. For example:

  • Alcohol denatures proteins necessary for function and the lipids in the plasma membrane dissolve into the alcohol.
  • "Iodine can penetrate the cell wall of micro-organisms quickly, and the lethal effects are believed to result from disruption of protein and nucleic acid structure and synthesis." [CDC]
  • other mechanisms include tampering cell metabolics, tampering DNA replication, and more.

See also:

Otherwise, it would be best therein to split the specific mechanisms you perhaps don't understand into separate questions. But an important take-home message in the efficacy link above just adds to just how broad this question is:

Microorganisms vary greatly in their resistance to chemical germicides and sterilization processes.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you please also give a few examples of what's going on from a pure chemical point of view? $\endgroup$ – Sparkler Aug 20 '15 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Sparkler this question is far too broad. From What types of questions should I avoid asking? "If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much." $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Aug 21 '15 at 16:52

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