Microorganismssuch as fungi, viruses, bacteria and protozoa cannot be viewed by thenaked eye but are present in our environments. Antimicrobial productsor agents are used to kill these microorganisms as well as hampertheir growth and stop them from reproducing. Commonly, antimicrobialsare utilized to treat or avert infections and diseases. They areusually grouped in three classifications: by chemical composition, bytarget site and according to if they are bacteriostatic (those thatinhibit growth) or bactericidal (those that kill). For instance thoseused to fight fungi are referred to as antifungals while the agentsthat destroy microbes are known as microbicidal (Mark, 2012). Thisessay discusses and explores how antimicrobials work.

Antimicrobialsimpinge on bacteria by inhibiting development of the cell membrane,cell wall, protein as well as changing the function of the protein(Mark, 2012). This happens through radiation, taking antimicrobialmedication, using antiseptics or disinfectants, and sterilization byheat.

Inhibitingof cell-wall synthesis

Thecell wall of the bacterial is usually rigid, consisting of linearpeptidoglycans normally interlinked by peptides. The nonexistence ofthese molecules in the cell membranes (mammalian) makes themsusceptible to targeting. Cell wall disrupting makes the bacteriavulnerable to death and osmotic lysis. For instance glycopeptidesteicoplanin and vancomycin slow down peptidoglycan synthesis byreacting much earlier compared to lactams. Alcohols and detergentsusually interrupt cell walls (Mark, 2012).

InhibitingProtein Synthesis

Majorityof the antibiotics obstruct protein synthesis by obstructingtranslation or through other means. Subtle dissimilarity betweeneukaryotes and prokaryotes, an example is in the size of ribosome,signifies that selectivity is probable (Mark, 2012). For instance,inhibitors of protein synthesis such as kanamycin and tetracyclineusually aim prokaryotic ribosomes, though they have no effect onmammalian ribosomes.

InhibitingCell Membrane Function

Thecell membrane normally controls the cells internal combustion, andany form of interference of it is results to changes in permeabilityand membrane role in turn resulting in cell death or destruction. Anexample is the polymyxins that are usually cationic detergents andthey disrupt the cell membrane’s phospholipid structure (Matt,2013).

AlteringProtein Function

Herethey usually denature proteins therefore changing the function ofproteins. For instance, Alcohols or moist heat can affect proteinshape and function (Matt, 2013).

Conclusively,sterilization uses a chemical or physical procedure to do away withmicrobial life. It is the only method that destroys all microbiallife and endospores as well. It is usually used on non-livingobjects.It is usually used on non-living objects. Any sterilizedobject is usually referred to as sterile.


Mark,T. (2012). Biosafety: Decontamination Methods for Laboratory Use.Blink. Retrieved from

Matt,S. (2013). Antimicrobial Agents. Inkling. Retrieved from