Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Disinfectants and Bacteria
Name: Bushrah
Status: Student
Age: 18
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: August 2004

Please could you tell me how disinfectants kill bacteria. What do they do to the cell wall and how.

Dear Bushrah:

There are 2 other fairly recent answers to similar questions from several of our expert molecular biologists, although the "Scientific American" link cited prominently in the 1st is no longer active, unfortunately:

Killing Bacteria -

Disinfectant and Bacteria -

I hope that these resources are helpful for you,

Jeff Buzby, Ph.D.
CHOC Research Institute
Div. of Educational Programs
Argonne National Laboratory

Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory