SCREENING METHODS: Antibacterial assays

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Methods which are used to evaluate the activity of plant antimicrobial are divided into in vitro and in vivo (application test). The former may be termed “screening methods” and might include any test in which the compound is not applied directly to the product under use conditions. Generally, these tests provide preliminary information to determined potential usefulness of the test compound. The second type includes those tests in which an antimicrobial is applied directly to a product.

In vitro methods

In vitro screening methods are subdivided into endpoint and descriptive tests. Endpoint tests are those in which a microorganism is challenged for an arbitrary period. The results reflect the inhibitory power of a compound only for the time specified. In descriptive test, the microorganism is also challenged, but periodic sampling is carried out to determine changes in viable cell number over time.

Of the endpoint test, the agar diffusion test has probably been the most widely used throughout history. It has often been referred to as the disk assay. However, this terminology is probably too narrow. There are many variations of this method such as use of cylinder, well, the ditch plate, agar overlays etc. Among the most common variations of the assay, the antimicrobial compound is applied to an agar plate, using an impregnated filter paper disk, or placed in a well.

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