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March/April 2011

Resistance Induction

As the use of antimicrobial agents in both medical and consumer settings continues to grow, there is real concern that targeted and peripheral microbial populations will develop survival strategies that would make them harder to eradicate when found in disease or spoilage situations.

According to J. Stephen Richards, a research fellow at Johnson & Johnson and a member of ASTM International Committee E35 on Pesticides and Alternative Control Agents, a proposed new ASTM method will provide a reproducible way to evaluate the potential for antimicrobial compounds to drive development of stronger microbial populations that are no longer affected by the antimicrobial. This new method will allow routine monitoring of this potential across time and geographic barriers.

The proposed new standard, WK30842, Test Method for Serial Passage Resistance Induction to Assess the Potential for Bacteria to Develop Resistance to an Antimicrobial Compound, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E35.15 on Antimicrobial Agents.

Once approved, the standard could be used by pharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as antiseptic and sanitizer manufacturers, during the development of new topical formulations. The primary value of the proposed standard, however, will be for independent testing laboratories responsible for demonstrating a formulation’s antimicrobial qualities in support of label claims. All interested parties are invited to participate in the standards developing activities of E35.15.

“The mandate of E35.15 is the development of standard methods for testing the effectiveness of chemical formulations and devices that are intended to have antibacterial, antifungal and/or antiviral activity topically or as sanitizers/disinfectants/sterilants,” says John Mitchell, Bioscience Laboratories Inc., and chairman of the subcommittee. “If shown to be effective according to the testing, such products have enormous importance in the healthcare and food service industries, as well as for the general public, in the prevention of disease.”


Technical Information: J. Stephen Richards, Johnson & Johnson, Skillman, N.J.

Phone: 908-874-1424

ASTM Staff: Jennifer Rodgers

Phone: 610-832-9694