First Author: Bernhard Meyer
All Authors: Meyer B
Journal Title: International journal of food microbiology
Abstract: Numerous reports are available on microbial resistance to antibiotics as well as to biocides. Instances of cross-resistance between these substance groups have been reported. Resistance, which is a genetically determined phenomenon, has to be distinguished from phenotypic adaptation processes, which are not hereditary. Adaptation can be avoided by rigorous cleaning and disinfection, avoiding concentrations of disinfectants below the microbicidal concentration. Resistance phenomena have to be divided into intrinsic and acquired resistance. Intrinsic resistance is the naturally greater resistance of certain microbial species compared to others. The term acquired resistance is used if certain strains of a microbial species differ significantly in their susceptibility to biocides compared to the average of this species. An overview of existing reports of resistance to different biocidal substances is given. In most of these reports, resistance is defined as an elevated minimum inhibitory concentration. The relevance of these data for disinfection processes, where microbicidal concentrations are applied, is discussed. Rotational use of different types of disinfectants, to avoid development of resistance, has been discussed controversially. Because of the unspecific mechanism of action of biocides, and the lack of scientific evidence for its need, rotational use of disinfectants is not recommended. In conclusion the risk of hazards in food production and processing caused by resistance to biocides is regarded as low.