In vitro and ex vivo testing of alternative disinfectants to currently used more harmful substances in footbaths against Dichelobacter nodosus.

Hidber, Tobias; Pauli, Urs; Steiner, Adrian; Kuhnert, Peter (2020). In vitro and ex vivo testing of alternative disinfectants to currently used more harmful substances in footbaths against Dichelobacter nodosus. PLoS ONE, 15(2), e0229066. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0229066

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A footbath-based control program for ovine footrot, a contagious disease caused by Dichelobacter nodosus, will be implemented in Switzerland. The currently used footbath disinfectants formaldehyde, zinc sulfate and copper sulfate are carcinogenic or environmental pollutants. Hence, the aim of this study was to identify alternative disinfectants, which are highly effective, non-carcinogenic, environmentally acceptable, inexpensive, available as concentrate and suitable for licensing. The antimicrobial effect of a series of potential chemicals such as lactic acid, propionic acid, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite, octenidine dihydrochloride, chlorocresol, Ampholyt 20 and the registered biocide DESINTEC® Hoof Care Special D (Desintec) were investigated by culture based in vitro testing. The microcidal effect of various Desintec concentrations were then compared against routinely used 4% formaldehyde and 10% zinc sulfate in ex vivo assays on sheep feet from slaughter. For this purpose a newly established PMA (propidium monoazid) real-time PCR using the improved dye PMAxx™ was applied that allows discrimination of viable and dead D. nodosus. In the ex vivo experiments, 4% formaldehyde was significantly more effective than 10% zinc sulfate and was chosen as positive control for assessing the new disinfectant. The disinfectant effect of Desintec in a minimal concentration of 6% was equally effective as 4% formaldehyde, meaning that it offers a comparable antimicrobial effect against virulent D. nodosus. In conclusion, Desintec is a promising disinfectant for replacing formaldehyde, copper sulfate and zinc sulfate in footbaths against footrot.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Clinic for Ruminants
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology

UniBE Contributor:

Hidber, Tobias Manuel, Steiner, Adrian, Kuhnert, Peter


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture
500 Science
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Public Library of Science




Nathalie Viviane Zollinger

Date Deposited:

19 Feb 2020 15:06

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:36

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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