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Some physical methods of microbial control that work by removing microbes are just as effective as agents that kill or inhibit these microbes. Explain why this is so, and give some examples of these types of agents.
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In some antimicrobial applications, the ability to remove microbes is just as good as, if not better than, killing or inhibiting their growth. The reason is that microbes such as bacteria can cause problems by their mere presence in a particular environment because of their ability to grow and divide rapidly. The removal of a microbe automatically eliminates its growth. Microbes can be mechanically removed from a particular environment in two ways: by filtration or by the use of chemical compounds such as soaps. Filtration involves the use of membranes with small pores that trap relatively small bacterial cells and, in some cases, even viruses. The liquid that passes through the filter is then free of these microbes and can be considered sterile. Soaps are examples of surfactants, molecules that have hydrophobic and hydrophilic regions. Soaps are thus able to interact with both water molecules and oily material, which usually contains the target microbial cells. The result is that soaps can disinfect by a process of degerming, which is the physical removal of microbes from an environment, such as the hands.
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