Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

Authored by: Edward B. Walker

Handbook of Topical Antimicrobials

Print publication date:  September  2002
Online publication date:  September  2002

Print ISBN: 9780824707880
eBook ISBN: 9780203909256
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/9780203909256.ch5

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Abstract

Quaternary ammonium chlorides (QACs) occupy a unique niche in the world of antimicrobial compounds. Rather than being a single, well-defined substance, as is the case for many such active ingredients, QACs are composed of a diverse, eclectic collection of substances that share a common chemical motif, namely a molecular structure containing a positively charged nitrogen atom covalently bonded to four carbon atoms. This quaternary ammonium group is responsible for the name of these antimicrobial compounds and also plays a dominant role in determining their chemical behavior.

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