Microorganisms are extremely diverse and their major groups include bacteria, archaea, fungi (yeasts and molds), algae, protozoa, and viruses. Very few microorganisms cause diseases in animals and plants, starting with the bacteria and viruses that cause most infections, followed by fungi, and finally protozoa and helminths. Antimicrobials are a group of compounds of natural or synthetic origin with the ability to kill microorganisms or prevent their growth. Synthetic antimicrobials are usually developed based on target microorganisms and specific molecular targets. Some synthesized antimicrobial agents are used as therapeutic drugs, such as sulphonamides, cotrimoxazole, quinolones. The use of synthetic antimicrobials is limited, once they are associated with several toxic effects, such as carcinogenicity and teratogenicity. In addition, synthetic antimicrobials generally have a low degradation in the environment. Natural antimicrobials as therapeutics or as food preservatives has been considered as a potential alternative to reduce these negative effects. Natural antimicrobials can be derived from plants, animal sources, microorganisms, algae, or mushrooms. Many commonly used antimicrobials are isolated from bacteria and fungi. For example, the narrow-spectrum antibiotic penicillin is derived from the Penicillium mold, and the glycopeptide antibiotic vancomycin is produced by the soil bacterium Amycolatopsis orientalis.
Antibacterials can be divided into bacteriostatic agents and bactericidal agents according to their mechanism of action. Various mechanisms of action include inhibition of cell wall synthesis, obstruction of protein synthesis, inhibition of DNA replication and repair, and disruption of the cell membrane. Antimicrobials can also be classified according to the group of microorganisms which they primarily act against. Amerigo Scientific offers a wide range of antimicrobials, including antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics.