Glutaraldehyde, also known as Cidex and Glutaral, is a biocidal, disinfectant, preservative, and stabilizer. The antiseptic properties of this substance cause widespread use in medicine, veterinary medicine, healthcare, and water purification industries. It is also used as a crosslinking agent for proteins.
Physical and Chemical Properties:
Glutaraldehyde is a 5-carbon dialdehyde with the chemical formula C5H8O2 and a molar mass of 100.12 grams. It is a colorless liquid and its industrial samples usually have an amber color with an odor similar to rotten fruit. It is similarly soluble in water, ethanol, benzene, ether, and other organic solvents. It is corrosive and can react strongly with strong oxidants, generates heat in the presence of strong acids and bases, and reacts strongly with amines.
The most important physical and chemical properties of this compound can be summarized in the following table:
|Molar mass (g/mol)
|pH (50% solution)
|Melting Point (° C)
|Boiling point (° C)
|Solubility in water
|Miscible with water
|Soluble in ethanol, benzene, ether
|Vapor pressure (mmHg 20°C)
|Glutardialdehyde, Glutaric acid dialdehyde, Glutaric aldehyde, Glutaric dialdehyde, 1,5-Pentanedial
|Colorless or light yellow
|Chemical Structure Depiction
The difference between Formaldehyde and Glutaraldehyde:
Glutaraldehyde is a liquid and is delivered as an antiseptic in an aqueous solution, while formaldehyde is a gas-phase disinfectant.
Glutaraldehyde Production Process:
Glutaraldehyde is a dialdehyde, which is composed of pentane and has aldehyde functions in C-1 and C-5. It acts as a cross-linking, disinfecting, and stabilizing agent. Its production process is such that it is produced industrially by the oxidation of cyclopentene. It can be produced alternately by the reaction of acrolein and vinyl ethers followed by hydrolysis. Like many other dialdehydes and simple aldehydes such as formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde is converted to various hydrates in an aqueous solution.
Monomeric glutaraldehyde can be polymerized by the aldol condensation reaction and produce alpha α, the polyunsaturated beta polyglutaraldehyde. This reaction usually occurs at alkaline pH values.
- In medicine, as a biocide, it is used to disinfect surgical instruments, equipment surfaces, and other areas of the hospital. As a medicine, it is used to treat plantar warts.
- Used in laboratories as a tissue stabilizer in electron microscopy. It is used to prepare samples such as bacteria, plant materials, human blood cells, etc
- Used in water treatment and wastewater treatment for industrial water treatment and as a chemical preservative.
- Used in the paper industry as a killer of sludge-producing microorganisms.
- Like other aldehydes, it is a crosslinker or crosslinking agent and reacts with thiol and amine substitutions common in proteins. The duality of this material makes it possible to cross-link between two polymer filaments.
- It is used in veterinary medicine and fish farming to disinfect and control bacteria and microorganisms.
- Used in oil and gas and petrochemical industries for oil and gas recovery operations and pipelines.
- Other applications of chemical glutaraldehyde include X-ray films, tanning, adhesive production, and sealing.
What is Glutaraldehyde Used for in Dentistry?
Oral cavities contain a large number of microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria, parasites, and viruses. This poses a risk of transmitting a variety of infections from person to person during dental surgery. As a result, sterilization of equipment in dentistry is of particular importance. Due to concerns about the transmission of viruses, especially the spread of hepatitis B, the use of a 2% solution of this compound as a disinfectant became popular in 1973.
Glutaraldehyde can provide a high level of surface disinfection and lead to sterilization of the surface. However, the disadvantages of this compound are its reduced efficiency in the presence of organic compounds, oils, and greases. This compound is also toxic and its use requires special safety precautions.
Contact with this substance can cause the following side effects: Skin irritation, respiratory problems including throat and lung irritation, asthma-like symptoms and difficulty breathing, nasal irritation, sneezing and wheezing, nosebleeds, eye irritation, and itching, contact dermatitis or allergic, Skin blemishes, urticaria, headache, and nausea.
Packing and Storage:
Keep the container closed when not in use. Store in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. Protect against physical damage, direct sunlight, and freezing.