The Role of Coformulants in Preventing Bacterial Biotransformation of IPBC
S R Cook, D J Dickinson
The inhibitory effects of disodium tetraborate decahydrate and benzalkonium chloride (BAC), two common coformulants of IPBC in antisapstain treatments, on an IPBC-transforming enterobacterial isolate ‘W1’ were determined by their effect on the specific growth rate constant in vitro. The IC50s of IPBC, BAC and borate were found to be 0.46, 0.026 and 5.7 mM respectively. The IC50 of the Arch antistain product AntibluTM Select was 0.024 mM, based on its BAC content. Although their IC50’s were significantly different, it was clear that the vast majority of the bacterial toxicity of the AntibluTM Select was due to its BAC content. The degradation of 0.4 mM IPBC by the bacterium W1, as measured by the accumulation of its degradation product, iodide, in liquid culture, was completely inhibited by BAC concentrations greater than 18 μM, and the toxicity of the spent culture medium to Aspergillus niger, as measured by an antibiotic assay disc assay, was not ameliorated above this concentration. Below 18 μM, the toxicity of the spent broth was significantly reduced, and the accumulation of iodide occurred rapidly.
Demonstrating the toxicity of BAC to bacteria, and its consequent inhibition of IPBC degradation in vitro, are indicative of the importance of coformulation in controlling bacteria that might otherwise cause preservative loss, and of their significance in determining the ultimate environmental fate of cobiocides.