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Preservation is the prevention or inhibition of microbial growth.

In pharmacy, this is commonly accomplished by the addition of a preservative to a product, with

theprimary purpose of minimizing microbial growth (as in oral liquids, topicals, etc.), or for preventing microbial growth (as in sterile preparations such as
Several factors are involved in the selection of a preservative, including concentration, pH, taste, odor and solubility. Some preparations, such as syrups, are inherently
preserved by the high concentration of sugar present, which acts as an osmotic preservative.
In most preparations, however, a suitable preservative must be selected and attention paid to assuring preparation of a stable product. A preservative must be
nontoxic, stable, compatible and inexpensive and have an acceptable taste, odor and color. It should also be effective against a wide variety of bacteria, fungi
and yeasts.
Autoxidation is the reaction of any substance with molecular oxygen. These reactions can be catalyzed by heavy metals, especially those with two or more
valency states (cobalt, copper, iron, nickel). Other catalysts include hydrogen and hydroxyl ions, since the redox potential of many compounds is pH related. These
catalysts can reduce the onset time and increase the rate of autoxidation reactions. The catalysts, in essence, increase the rate of formation of free radicals.
Antioxidants are among a number of adjuvants commonly added to pharmaceutical systems to enhance physical and chemical stability. Antioxidants are
added to minimize or retard oxidative processes that occur with some drugs or excipients upon exposure to oxygen or in the presence of free radicals. These
processes can often be catalyzed by light, temperature, hydrogen ion concentration, presence of trace metals, or peroxides.
Some substances prone to oxidation include unsaturated oils/fats, compounds with aldehyde or phenolic groups, colors, flavors, sweeteners, plastics and rubbers, the
latter being used in containers for products.
Oxidation may manifest as products with an unpleasant odor, taste, appearance, precipitation, discoloration or even a slight loss of activity. The term rancidity refers
to many typical off-flavors that result from autoxidation of unsaturated fatty acidsthat are present in oils and fats, and it affects many oils and fats. The distinct
rancid odor may result from short-chain, volatile monomers resulting from the cleavage of the longerchain, less volatile oils and fats.
Select an agent by clicking on the name
Benzalkonium chloride

Benzethonium chloride

Benzoic Acid and salts

Benzyl alcohol

Boric Acid and salts

Cetylpyridinium chloride

Cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide



Chorhexidine gluconate or Chlorhexidine acetate



Imidazolidinyl urea




o-Phenyl phenol



Phenylmercuric acetate/nitrate


Sodium benzoate

Sorbic acids and salts

-Phenylethyl alcohol

Select an agent by clicking on the name
a-tocopherol acetate

Acetone sodium bisulfite


Ascorbic acid

Ascorbyl palmitate

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)


Cysteine hydrochloride

d- a-tocopherol natural

d- a-tocopherol synthetic



Nordihydroguaiaretic acid

Propyl gallate

Sodium bisulfite

Sodium formaldehyde sulfoxylate

Sodium metabisulfite

Sodium sulfite

Sodium thiosulfate


Select an agent by clicking on the name
Citric acid

EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetate) and salts

Phosphoric acid

Tartaric acid

Hydroxyquinoline sulfate