Very simply stated, an antibacterial ingredient is an active ingredient used to kill or control the growth of bacteria. The term is often used interchangeably with "antimicrobial." The mode of action for killing or inhibiting the growth of bacteria varies with the type of antibacterial agent used. Triclosan, for example, is thought to block the active site of an enzyme needed by many bacteria and fungi for survival. The blockage of this active site in essence prevents bacteria from making fatty acids, which are necessary for various aspects of cell construction. Quaternary compounds also work by destroying the cell wall of bacteria.
Figure 1 presents the chemical structures of some commonly used antibacterial agents.
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