Comparative efficacy of an Essential Oil based (Green) disinfectant with a Conventional Phenol based disinfectant

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Comparative efficacy of an Essential Oil based (Green) disinfectant with a Conventional Phenol based disinfectant

Dr. Vandana Sharma and Dr. Saurabh Agarwal, Nutricare Life Sciences Ltd.



Ever since the inception of disinfectants, they have been extensively used in all hygiene as well as biosecurity measures. Healthy production of birds and animals not only depends on vaccinations and medications, but also on the biosecurity measures and proper use of disinfectants. Disinfectants are being used in poultry houses, hatcheries, animal barns, equipments, feeders & drinkers, hospitals and working surfaces. Disinfectants are meant to reduce the microbial load and to avoid disease conditions. Commonly used disinfectants such as Phenolic compounds, Quaternary ammonium compounds, Aldehydes, Halogens and Oxidising compounds have been associated with health risks and are accompanied by various deleterious effects. They are corrosive in action and toxic in nature. They cause prophylactic reactions and few have been reported to be carcinogenic in nature as well. They maybe the reason of embryo mortality in hatching eggs and are generally avoided in flocks, as they cause respiratory ailments. They may cause damage to vital organs like liver, heart, kidneys and may produce secondary toxins. The major concern of the modern world is the development of microbial resistance which, has been attributed to the irrational, frequent and unmonitored usage of chemical disinfectants and antibiotics. The world is soon going to ban the usage of chemical disinfectants and is looking for alternatives with safe and sustainable disinfectants. Nutricare Life Sciences with the theme of green disinfectant has developed a Natural Biodegradable Disinfectant (NBD).

Material and Methods


A comparative study was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of disinfectant potential of a herbal biodegradable disinfectant, NBD-99(Nutricare Life Sciences Ltd.) with conventional Phenol based disinfectant. The environmental contaminants were exposed to different concentrations of NBD-99 to assess its effectiveness. The study for alternate approach was divided as-

(A) Air/environmental organic contaminants were taken using a sterile sponge swab from various sensitive points which included water source, drains, areas   in and around manufacturing plant, lab appliances as well as working desks. To check the environmental microbial contaminants, the swab was rubbed and rolled firmly several times across the sampling area or exposed to the work environment for a period of 15 minutes. The samples were carried in triplicates to avoid any discrepancies. The exposed swabs were thereafter streaked on a nutrient agar petri dish and incubated for a period of 24-48 hours at 35-37◦C to check for colony forming units.

(B) The target area and critical check points were sanitized and disinfected with the help of NBD-99 at different concentrations and samples were again taken using a sterile sponge swab, incubated and checked for microbial growth at 0,6,12,24 & 48 hour to check the growth of environmental microbes.

Groups Treatment


Though, the disinfectant possesses activity much beyond 48 hours (as per field trials), but owing to lab/test limitations, we worked on 48 hours only.

Results and Discussion

Table 1:  Inhibition of bacterial growth at various concentration
  + Indicates positive growth observed on culture plates
  - Indicates negative growth observed on culture plates

This study revealed that green disinfectant NBD-99 alleviated the environmental contaminants at 2% and 3% dilution. It was equally effective in disinfecting contaminated nonporous inanimate surfaces. Of all the samples taken from different critical points of manufacturing unit, lab, working desk and water outlets, this herbal disinfectant showed same potential for microbes at 0, 6, 12, 24 and 48 hour of exposure. The effectiveness of surface disinfectant was even evident at 48 hours post disinfection. This proves the stability of the herbal liquid, which despite being exposed to various environmental factors, was able to neutralize the microbial contaminants. The results revealed that though the standard conventional Phenol based disinfectant worked well even at 1%, yet the efficacy of the green disinfectant at 2 and 3% was not only comparable to it, but also did not show any kind of residual or side effects.

This result may be attributed to Essential (volatile) oils from aromatic and medicinal plants have been known since antiquity to possess biological activity, notably antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties (Baratta et al. 1998; Cosentino et al. 1999; Bounatirou et al. 2007).


NBD -99 proved to be a competent disinfectant for the environmental organic contaminants. At 2-3% dilution, it exhibited a >99% efficacy which lasted for 48 hours post disinfection. Eucalyptus, Thyme, Pine, and basil essential oils have a potential to inhibit and inactivate microorganisms in nutrient medium at different concentrations. The inhibitory effects of essential oils increased with increasing concentration.



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Article made possible through the contribution of Dr. Vandana Sharma, Dr. Saurabh Agarwal and Nutricare Life Sciences Ltd.