Table 4

Potential neutralizing agents for the microbiological application of inactivating metals cations and oxyanions*


Neutralizing agent

Maximum concentration1


All oxyanions2


10 mM

[10, 18, 24]

Al3+, Mn2+

Crushed acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)

~1–2 mM3

[30, 31]

Hg2+, Cd2+


10 mM



10 mM


Cu2+, Ni2+

Diethyldithiocarbamic acid3 (DDTC)

2.5 mM (E. coli) up to 5 mM (P. aeruginosa)




10 mM



Sodium citrate

10 mM


Zn2+, Co2+, Pb2+


10 mM


*This is the first part of a two-part strategy to reduce the in vitro toxicity of metals (see text for details)

1 The maximum concentration tested and employed in studies by our laboratories using the high-throughput metal susceptibility testing method presented in this paper.

2 Tested heavy metal and metalloid oxyanions from our laboratories include TeO32-, TeO42-, SeO32-, CrO42-, AsO43-, AsO2-, WO42- and MoO42-.

3 Application is limited by the low solubility of salicylic acid and its acetylated derivatives in water.

4 The maximum concentration listed is inhibitory to bacterial growth in broth culture. Recovery broth media must be spot plated onto agar to allow bacterial growth and determination of accurate MBC and MBEC values.

Harrison et al. BMC Microbiology 2005 5:53   doi:10.1186/1471-2180-5-53

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