The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of a homologous series of alcohol ethoxylates with the same head group size (E6) but differing in the number of carbon atoms in their ‘tail group’ from 10 to 16 was determined for Staphylococcus aureus NCTC 4163 and Escherichia coli NCTC 8196 using a turbidimetric assay. All the surfactants tested demonstrated bacteriostatic activity against both organisms. A tetrazolium assay showed that C14E6 and C16E6 had little effect on the membrane-bound dehydrogenase enzyme activity of E. coli NCTC 8196 compared with C10E6 and C12E6. C10E6 caused leakage both of K+ and nucleotides in a concentration-dependent manner above its MIC of 0.2 mM. C12E6 caused some leakage at concentrations below its MIC (0.12 mM).
- Alcohol ethoxylate
- Non-ionic surfactant
- Membrane-bound dehydrogenases
- Bacterial membrane
- Escherichia coli