Standard Article


  1. Otis C. Maloy

Published Online: 15 APR 2003

DOI: 10.1002/047126363X.agr311

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

How to Cite

Maloy, O. C. 2003. Disinfection. Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals. .

Author Information

  1. Washington State University, Pullman, Washington

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2003


Disinfection is generally considered to be the killing or inactivation of disease-producing microorganisms in animals, seeds, or other plant parts but is sometimes used mistakenly to describe sterilizing surfaces and other inanimate objects. However, since inanimate objects cannot become infected, eliminating pathogens from these surfaces is correctly termed disinfestation. Disinfection can be accomplished by several methods but usually is by the application of chemicals (disinfectants) or heat. Development of antibiotics and systemic fungicides has made available relatively nonphytotoxic disinfectant chemicals. However, overuse of these materials may hasten the emergence of fungicide-resistant strains of pathogens and eliminate beneficial organisms from plant surfaces.


  • disinfection;
  • disinfectants;
  • antibiotics;
  • systemic fungicides;
  • eradication;
  • curative fungicides;
  • eradicants