Bacteriostatic agent
A bacteriostatic agent or bacteriostat, abbreviated Bstatic, is a biological or chemical agent that stops bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

 from reproducing, while not necessarily harming them otherwise. Depending on their application, bacteriostatic antibiotic
An antibacterial is a compound or substance that kills or slows down the growth of bacteria.The term is often used synonymously with the term antibiotic; today, however, with increased knowledge of the causative agents of various infectious diseases, antibiotic has come to denote a broader range of...

s, disinfectants, antiseptic
Antiseptics are antimicrobial substances that are applied to living tissue/skin to reduce the possibility of infection, sepsis, or putrefaction...

s and preservative
A preservative is a naturally occurring or synthetically produced substance that is added to products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, paints, biological samples, wood, etc. to prevent decomposition by microbial growth or by undesirable chemical changes....

s can be distinguished. Upon removal of the bacteriostat, the bacteria usually start to grow again. This is in contrast to bactericides, which kill bacteria.

Bacteriostats are often used in plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

s to prevent growth of bacteria on surfaces. Bacteriostats commonly used in laboratory work include sodium azide
Sodium azide
Sodium azide is the inorganic compound with the formula NaN3. This colourless azide salt is the gas-forming component in many car airbag systems. It is used for the preparation of other azide compounds. It is an ionic substance and is highly soluble in water. It is extremely...

 (which is acutely toxic) and thimerosal (which is a mutagen in mammalian cells).

Bacteriostatic antibiotics

Bacteriostatic antibiotics limit the growth of bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

 by interfering with bacterial protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 production, DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 replication, or other aspects of bacterial cellular metabolism
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...

. They must work together with the immune system to remove the microorganisms from the body. However, there is not always a precise distinction between them and bactericidal antibiotics; high concentrations of some bacteriostatic agents are also bactericidal, whereas low concentrations of some bacteriocidal agents are bacteriostatic.

This group includes
  • Tetracyclines
  • sulfonamides
    Sulfonamide (medicine)
    Sulfonamide or sulphonamide is the basis of several groups of drugs. The original antibacterial sulfonamides are synthetic antimicrobial agents that contain the sulfonamide group. Some sulfonamides are also devoid of antibacterial activity, e.g., the anticonvulsant sultiame...

  • Spectinomycin
    Spectinomycin is an aminocyclitol antibiotic, closely related to the aminoglycosides, produced by the bacterium Streptomyces spectabilis....

  • Trimethoprim
    Trimethoprim is a bacteriostatic antibiotic mainly used in the prophylaxis and treatment of urinary tract infections.It belongs to the class of chemotherapeutic agents known as dihydrofolate reductase inhibitors...

  • Chloramphenicol
    Chloramphenicol is a bacteriostatic antimicrobial that became available in 1949. It is considered a prototypical broad-spectrum antibiotic, alongside the tetracyclines, and as it is both cheap and easy to manufacture it is frequently found as a drug of choice in the third world.Chloramphenicol is...

  • Macrolides
  • Lincosamides
    Lincosamides are a class of antibiotics.-Mechanism of action:Lincosamides kill bacteria by interfering with the synthesis of proteins. They bind to the 23s portion of the 50S subunit of bacterial ribosomes and cause premature dissociation of the peptidyl-tRNA from the ribosome...

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