Jump to main content
Jump to site search
PLANNED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

Scheduled maintenance work on Wednesday 27th March 2019 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (GMT).

During this time our website performance may be temporarily affected. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.

Issue 4, 2010
Previous Article Next Article

Antimicrobial and surface activity of 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium derivatives

Author affiliations


Knowledge of the structure–activity relationship (SAR) allows for the possibility to design and synthesize new cationic amphiphiles with optimized antimicrobial activities for future development of new disinfectants, sanitizers or preservatives. The need to design and identify new compounds, possessing antimicrobial properties, results from the emergence of more resistant micro-organisms in our globalized society. Hitherto, most studies which analyse the biological activity of ionic liquids (ILs) investigate the effect of the cation, whereas the knowledge of the effect of the anion is limited. The present study confirms the existence of a strong relationship among structure, surface activity and biological action of imidazolium ionic liquids on bacteria and fungi. The dependence of the antimicrobial activity on chemical structure–chain length and anion type of 30 compounds was determined. The anion is an important structural element which partakes in the definition of the phyiscochemical properties of the IL, and in consequence the technological applications and mode of action of the compound. The introduction of a longer substituent on the imidazolium cation results in a lower minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC). Thus, antifungal and antibacterial activities were found to increase with chain length, very often up to a point exhibiting a cut-off effect at chain lengths of 16 or 18 for the imidazolium cation and the [Cl] anion. The efficiency of surface tension reduction circumscribed by the pC20 and the relationship between antimicrobial activity and pC20 is described herein. The relationship indicates an antimicrobial mode of action dependant on the surface activity of the molecule, inferring that surface activity may contribute to the cut-off effect in the biological activity of ILs.

Graphical abstract: Antimicrobial and surface activity of 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium derivatives

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 19 Oct 2009, accepted on 09 Feb 2010 and first published on 22 Mar 2010

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B921805J
Citation: Green Chem., 2010,12, 593-601

  •   Request permissions

    Antimicrobial and surface activity of 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium derivatives

    J. Łuczak, C. Jungnickel, I. Łącka, S. Stolte and J. Hupka, Green Chem., 2010, 12, 593
    DOI: 10.1039/B921805J

Search articles by author