Effective and economical mycobactericidal disinfectants are needed to kill both Mycobacterium tuberculosis and non-M. tuberculosis mycobacteria. We found that acetic acid (vinegar) efficiently kills M. tuberculosis after 30 min of exposure to a 6% acetic acid solution. The activity is not due to pH alone, and propionic acid also appears to be bactericidal. M. bolletii and M. massiliense nontuberculous mycobacteria were more resistant, although a 30-min exposure to 10% acetic acid resulted in at least a 6-log10 reduction of viable bacteria. Acetic acid (vinegar) is an effective mycobactericidal disinfectant that should also be active against most other bacteria. These findings are consistent with and extend the results of studies performed in the early and mid-20th century on the disinfectant capacity of organic acids.
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