The author reviews his research, since 1966, for the ideal germicide. The relationship between structure of fatty acids, their corresponding esters, and antimicrobial activity is presented. Saturated fatty acids have their highest activity when the chain length is twelve carbons (C12) long; monounsaturated fatty acids reach their peak with palmitoleic acid (C16∶1); the most active polyunsaturated fatty acid is linoleic.Trans isomers are not active against microorganisms. The esterification of fatty acids to monohydric alcohols leads to inactive derivatives, whereas esterification to polyhydric alcohols increases biological activity. Examples of glycerol and sucrose esters are reviewed. In general, the lauroyl derivatives are the most active. A few examples of esters as active pharmacological agents against organisms causing bovine mastitis are presented as well as the use of monolaurin (Lauricidin®) as cosmetic and food preservatives. The safety and efficacy of fatty acid esters as potential germicides offer new and expanded roles for oleochemicals.
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Kabara, J.J. Antimicrobial agents derived from fatty acids. J Am Oil Chem Soc 61, 397–403 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02678802
- Minimal Inhibitory Concentration
- Lauric Acid
- Fatty Acid Ester
- Sorbic Acid
- Sucrose Ester