Antiseptics for treating infected wounds: Efficacy on biofilms and effect of pH

Steven L. Percival, Simon Finnegan, Gianfranco Donelli, Claudia Vuotto, Steve Rimmer, Benjamin A. Lipsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biofilm recalcitrance is a persistent problem when managing difficult to heal and infected chronic wounds. The wound biofilm is a fundamental factor in the re-occurrence and delayed healing commonly observed in non-healing and infected chronic wounds. However, there is presently no single antimicrobial agent that is completely efficacious against both the planktonic and sessile polymicrobial communities evident in at risk or infected wounds. We will review currently available antimicrobials, with particular emphasis on silver and iodine, employed to help suppress biofilms in wounds. In addition, we will also review the effect of pH on antimicrobial efficacy. Available evidence suggests that it is best to take a multifactorial approach towards controlling biofilm in chronic, "at risk" and infected wounds. This highlights the growing importance of avoiding indiscriminate or inappropriate use of antimicrobials in the treatment of chronic wounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-309
Number of pages17
JournalCritical Reviews in Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 27 2014


  • Antiseptics
  • biofilms
  • iodine
  • pH
  • silver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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