In the field of agriculture , one of the greatest fears that usually arise is closely related to the appearance and presence of pests, as these can be responsible for creating a series of problems and ruining entire crops. Many pests are composed of organisms that turn out to be very harmful to both crops and health , and for this reason, being able to have measures, such as the use of biocides , that eradicate the problem is essential.

What is a biocide?

A biocide is a type of substance or mixture linking several active including some microorganisms which have the ability to combat the harmful organisms found in food.

  • Characteristics of a biocide
  • Types
  • What is it for
  • How a biocide works
  • What requirements should a good biocide have
  • Importance

Characteristics of a biocide

There are several characteristics that are present in a biocide, some of the most important are mentioned below:

  • They are a type of substance chemical , synthetic or even original nature that can destroy the action of the harmful organism.
  • They have a very broad spectrum of effectiveness .
  • They can kill different types of organisms such as bacteria , viruses, and fungi .
  • When used in low concentrations they have a very good effectiveness.
  • They are quite inexpensive , they act very quickly and efficiently.
  • Its pH is quite broad and effective.
  • They have solubility when they are in the presence of water.
  • They are also compatible with some species found in the middle.
  • They are easy to neutralize .
  • It has a very low toxicity for humans.


The types of biocides that exist are grouped into four major groups. These groups are:

  • Disinfectants : in this group we find biocides ranging from type 1 to type 5.
  • Product type 1: products for human hygiene.
  • Product type 2: disinfectants and algaecides that are not applied directly to animals or humans.
  • Product type 3: products for veterinary hygiene.
  • Product type 4: products that are used to clean surfaces that will be in contact with food.
  • Product type 5:  here is the drinking water .
  • Preservatives : product-type biocides 6 to 13 are located in this group. They are mainly responsible for preventing the growth of microbes and algae .
  • Product Type 6:  Preservatives so that products can be kept while in storage.
  • Product type 7: film preservatives.
  • Product type 8:  substances that protect wood.
  • Product type 9: are those that can provide protection to fiber, leather and rubber.
  • Product type 10: substances to preserve different building materials.
  • Product type 11:  this group includes liquids that are used for example for refrigeration systems and in some industrial processes.
  • Product type 12: all products that have been created to prevent mold growth.
  • Product type 13:  liquid protectants.
  • Pesticides : in this group we find all those products that have been created with the aim of being able to prevent pests . They range from type 14 to 20.
  • Product type 14:  rondencitides.
  • Product type 15:  avicides
  • Product type 16:  mosquitoes, vermicides and products to eliminate invertebrates.
  • Product type 17:  pesticides.
  • Product type 18:  insecticides and products to eliminate mites.
  • Others : types 21 and 22 are located in this group.
  • Product type 21: antifouling products.
  • Product type 22:  this includes liquids that are commonly used for embalming and taxidermy.

What is it for

A biocide is a type of substance that is used to destroy , neutralize , eliminate or counteract the possible effect that an organism may cause that is considered harmful to humans. It works effectively to quickly reduce large populations of microorganisms that affect health, which are often present in the food consumed daily.

Its use, registration and commercialization is completely controlled by different bodies in charge of ensuring that standards and safety are met. Some of them work as disinfectants for surfaces that are in contact with food, others help to disinfect water and some also have a function of keeping food in good condition.

How a biocide works

The way of acting of a biocide is based on its direct intervention on the membrane that the cell of the harmful microorganism has , in such a way that, they manage to enter and destroy all the systems that are in it. A lysis then takes place , which is a process by means of which the membrane of the bacterial cell can be broken, which is at the same time responsible for the release of intracellular material. They then act on the biochemical reactions that occur in a microorganism, destroying them completely and thus eliminating the organisms that are harmful to health.

What requirements should a good biocide have

All biocides must meet a series of requirements so that they can be used and even legal. Some of the requirements are as follows:

  • Adequate identification of the substances that compose it and the concentration of each of them.
  • Type of preparation with which the biocide has been made or in which it is found, specifying whether it is in grains, powder or liquid.
  • The uses of the substance must be specified in detail .
  • The secondary effects that they may cause must also be included in the product information as a fundamental requirement.
  • They must have information regarding the lot number and the expiration date they have.
  • It must be specified very well, what a specific biocide is made for.


Biocides are of great importance because they turn out to be one of the best methods that exist to be able to safeguard everything related to food safety by the industry. Thanks to them, it is possible to face a series of problems that are caused by bacteria , fungi and spores . Thanks to its great capacities to destroy , reduce , neutralize or prevent the actions that these organisms can produce in food.

Many of these substances help the disinfection of facilities , food , antiseptics and also provide extensive support for proper conservation of the products consumed avoiding the same time they are damaged or microorganisms can proliferate in them.

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