In vitro Antifungal Efficacy of Biguanides and Quaternary Ammonium Compounds against Cleanroom Fungal Isolates

Rajendran Vijayakumar, Velusamy Venkatesa Kannan, Tim Sandle and Chockaiya Manoharan


In vitro antifungal activities of three biocides including one biguanide (chlorhexidine) and two quaternary ammonium compounds (benzalkonium chloride and cetrimide) were studied against eight cleanroom fungal isolates by using a microbiological broth dilution technique as per Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) M38-A guidelines. No data exists on the activity of biocides on pharmaceutical cleanroom fungal isolates. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) for all three biocides against species of Aspergillus and Penicillium species ranged between 4 and 16 μg/mL. MICs of Curvularia, Cladosporium, and Alternaria species also showed less than 16 μg/mL. To date, susceptibility breakpoints have not been established for biocides, and this is the first study using the CLSI broth microdilution antifungal susceptibility testing to determine the MIC value of biocides. This study clearly demonstrates that the most frequently isolated micro-organisms from an environmental monitoring program may be periodically subjected to microbroth dilution testing with cleanroom disinfectant agents used in the disinfection program to confirm their sensitivity profile. Further work is needed in this field to increase our understanding of biocides against different fungal isolates and to enable to the design of more efficient disinfection and contamination control programs.

LAY ABSTRACT: Increased trend of fungal growth is observed in pharmaceutical and medical device cleanrooms. It is essential to have knowledge of choosing effective disinfectants for minimizing fungal occurrence in cleanrooms. The present study establish minimum cut-offs for specific fungal isolates that are problematic in cleanrooms against commonly used disinfectants (quaternary ammonium compounds and biguanides). Further studies based on this minimum inhibitory concentration of disinfectants, effective time, and cleaning methods could prevent fungal occurrence.

View Full Text

PDA members receive access to all articles published in the current year and previous volume year. Institutional subscribers received access to all content. Log in below to receive access to this article if you are either of these.  

If you are neither or you are a PDA member trying to access an article outside of your membership license, then you must purchase access to this article (below). If you do not have a username or password for JPST, you will be required to create an account prior to purchasing. 

Full issue PDFs are for PDA members only.

Note to users

The PDA and PDA bookstore websites ( and are separate websites from the PDA JPST website. When you first join PDA, your initial UserID and Password are sent to HighWirePress to create your PDA JPST account. Subsequent UserrID and Password changes required at the PDA websites will not pass on to PDA JPST and vice versa. If you forget your PDA JPST UserID and/or Password, you can request help to retrieve UserID and reset Password below.

Log in through your institution

Purchase access

You may purchase access to this article. This will require you to create an account if you don't already have one.