Factors in the selection of surface disinfectants for use in a laboratory animal setting

Michael V. Campagna, Emmanuelle Faure-Kumar, Janet A. Treger, Jesse D. Cushman, Tristan R. Grogan, Noriyuki Kasahara, Gregory W. Lawson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Because surface disinfectants are an important means of pathogen control within laboratory animal facilities, these products must have an appropriate spectrum of antimicrobial activity. However, many other factors must also be considered, including effects on human health, environmental safety, and animal behavior. Aqueous solutions of sodium hypochlorite often are considered to be the 'gold standard' for surface disinfection, but these products can be corrosive, caustic, and aversive in odor. This study was designed to identify disinfectants that are as effective as hypochlorite solutions but more acceptable for use in a laboratory animal setting. An antiviral disinfectant-efficacy assay was developed by using viral vectors that expressed green fluorescence protein as surrogates for wild-type viruses of concern in laboratory animals. Efficacy testing revealed that most of the products were highly effective when used against viral vectors in suspension. However, when the disinfectants were challenged by buffering virus in protein or drying virus on nonporous surfaces, the hypochlorite and peroxymonosulfate products performed the best. Review of safety data sheets for the agents indicated that a peroxide-based product was considerably safer than the other products tested and that the pH of most products was not conducive to disposal down a drain. Behavioral testing of Swiss Webster, C57Bl/6, and BALB/c mice showed that the hypochlorite- And peroxide-based products were clearly aversive, given that the mice consistently avoided these products. All of these factors must be considered when choosing the appropriate disinfectant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-188
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2016


  • CCM
  • Complete culture medium
  • EPA
  • Environmental protection agency
  • HEK
  • HMIS
  • Hazardous material information system
  • Human embryonic kidney
  • SDS
  • Safety data sheet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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