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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Co-operative inhibitory effects of hydrogen peroxide and iodine against bacterial and yeast species

Elena I Zubko and Mikhajlo K Zubko*

Author Affiliations

School of Healthcare Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, John Dalton Building, Chester St, Manchester M1 5GD, UK

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BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:272  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-272

Published: 15 July 2013



Hydrogen peroxide and iodine are powerful antimicrobials widely used as antiseptics and disinfectants. Their antimicrobial properties are known to be enhanced by combining them with other compounds. We studied co-operative inhibitory activities (synergism, additive effects and modes of growth inhibition) of hydrogen peroxide and iodine used concurrently against 3 bacterial and 16 yeast species.


Synergistic or additive inhibitory effects were shown for hydrogen peroxide and iodine mixtures against all 19 species used in the study. Both biocides were mostly cidal individually and in mixtures against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Both compounds manifested static inhibitory effects individually, but their mixtures were synergistically cidal for Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherihia coli. Cells of S. cerevisiae treated with hydrogen peroxide and iodine-hydrogen peroxide mixture produced increased numbers of respiratory deficient mutants indicating genotoxic effects.


Iodine and hydrogen peroxide used concurrently interact synergistically or additively against a range of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms. The study provides an insight as to how these traditional antimicrobials could be used more effectively for disinfection and antisepsis. In addition, a simple approach is proposed for scoring genotoxicity of different biocides by using the budding yeast system.

Antimicrobials; Synergism; Iodine; Hydrogen peroxide; Escherichia; Pseudomonas; Staphylococcus; Saccharomyces; Candida; Genotoxicity