Disinfectants: The Right Chemistry for the Right Cost Effectiveness

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Article | 01.08.2021
Franck Foulon and Jean-Charles Baglione

Disinfectants are very often formulated with the same active ingredients, so how can there be big differences in their spectrum of coverage and effectiveness? Concentration of the active ingredients is often thought of as the most important factor in product choice. But concentration of the actives does not exactly reflect biocidal efficacy. Formulation is key and we must also consider other intrinsic qualities such as adaptation to the equipment used in specific animal segments as well as the safety of use for humans and animals.

There are four major chemical families used in disinfectants for the livestock industry. 

  • Aldehydes
  • Quaternary ammonium
  • Phenolics
  • Oxidants

Aldehydes and quaternary ammonium actives are usually combined into one disinfectant product. 

Here we review the main chemical properties, formulation, efficacy and positioning of our quaternary ammonium and glutaraldehyde combination products, Vulkan® Max and Vulkan® Air: 

Quaternary ammonium / Glutaraldehyde combinations - Vulkan® Max and Vulkan® Air

The bactericidal and surfactive activity of quaternary ammoniums is complemented by the extended biocidal spectrum of the glutaraldehyde. 

Vulkan® Max: the most cost-effective way to kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi

Vulkan® Max is an optimal balance of the two active ingredients plus the right mix of co-formulants, resulting in the most effective protection against pathogens. 

The two key factors in the product formulation are: 

  • the proportion of glutaraldehyde compared to quaternary ammoniums. The optimal equilibrium has been found in Vulkan® Max.
  • the co-formulants. Actives need to be enhanced by co-formulants. Using over 30 years of knowhow in disinfectant formulation, we have adjusted toe co-formulants, deleting some, changing the proportion of others, and adding new ones to find the right mix for maximum efficacy against viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Having compared and evaluated disinfectant products for decades, we know that the best product efficiency is not necessarily obtained using the highest concentrations of actives. This approach complies with sustainable formulations, generates a significant decrease in ecotoxicity, reducing the hazard labelling classification of the product.

Vulkan® Max is the most efficient and effective product in this category of disinfectants. The farmer can confidently disinfect buildings (Figure 1) without wasting litres of dangerous active ingredients. 

Figure 1. Vulkan® Max foaming application

Vulkan® Air: the versatile disinfectant

Vulkan® Air is suitable for all types of disinfection when spraying, foaming, using cold nebulization or thermal fogging, an when small items need to be soaked. 

Vulkan® Air is specially formulated to allow airborne application in poultry farms (Figure 2). Product diffusion is optimal without generating greasy deposits on surfaces and floors. 

According to the latest European standard, EN 17272 (April 2020), relating to airborne disinfection methods, Vulkan® Air has demonstrated top level results: 

  • a bacterial and virucidal activity at 0.75 mL/m3
  • a fungicidal and yeasticidal activity at 1.00 mL/m3 against Clostridium albicans and Aspergillus brasiliensis
Figure 2. Vulkan® Air airborne application

The efficacy results achieved with Vulkan® Max and Vulkan® Air demonstrate the highest efficacy against all representative pathogens in animal production, even at low concentrations and at all temperatures. 


All products may not be marketed in all countries.
Specific regulations may apply depending on the country of use. Please refer to your local regulation for each specific use.


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