o-Phthalaldehyde vs. Glutaraldehyde | Advantages & Features

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o-Phthalaldehyde is an organic reagent, which has actually been commonly made use of in the determination of amine alkaloids, fluorometer histamine and medical exam. The completed product is pale yellow needle-like crystal, easily soluble in water, alcohol, ether and various other organic solvents, has no peculiar odor, as well as has stable chemical properties.

It was first utilized for endoscope sanitation in 1994, as well as it was discovered to have a broad-spectrum and high-efficiency bactericidal impact. Subsequent studies have shown that o-phthalaldehyde has many advantages over glutaraldehyde.

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o Phthalaldehyde Definition and Characteristics

Developed in the 1990s, o-phthalaldehyde (OPA) has now been developed as a high performance o-phthalaldehyde disinfectant that can meet sterilization requirements in laboratory studies. Currently the US FDA only recommends o-phthalaldehyde for endoscope sterilization.


  1. Fast and effective in killing microorganisms, good in killing mycobacteria resistant to glutaraldehyde and peroxyacetic acid.
  2. Easy to use without activator.
  3. Microbial killing effect and stability are affected by pH value.
  4. Low toxicity to human, no irritating odor, no damage to goods, suitable for a variety of materials.

Glutaraldehyde Definition and Characteristics

Glutaraldehyde was synthesized in 1908 and used for disinfection and sterilization of medical devices in the 1980s.


  1. Reliable sterilization effect, low corrosiveness to metals, low damage to other articles, suitable for a variety of materials.
  2. The volatile gas irritates the respiratory tract, has an unpleasant odor, is poor for branching bacteria, has a fixing effect on blood and tissues, and allergic and inflammatory reactions are more common.

o Phthalaldehyde vs. Glutaraldehyde

o-Phthalaldehyde VS Glutaraldehyde

Compared with glutaraldehyde, the advantages of o-phthalaldehyde are

  1. More rapid
    • Ready-to-use, no activation, mixing or dilution required
    • 50%-70% time savings over glutaraldehyde
    • Shorten the cycle of endoscopic disinfection and increase the turnover rate.
  2. More efficient
    • Broad-spectrum bactericidal efficacy.
    • Kills 2% of glutaraldehyde-tolerant Mycobacterium in 5 minutes.
  3. More durable
    • Under high load use, o-phthalaldehyde lasts for 140 disinfection cycles on average, while glutaraldehyde lasts for 90 cycles.
  4. Safer
    • No special ventilation required.
    • No OSHA allowable storm limit requirement.
    • No inhalation toxicity and mucous membrane toxicity.
    • Widely used so far no acute toxicity, teratogenic, mutagenic cases.
    • Unique staining tips.
  5. More gentle.
    • Does not contain any surfactants.
    • Near neutral pH.
    • Wide range of material compatibility.

Is OPA an Advanced Disinfectant?

Yes, OPA disinfectant is an advanced disinfectant. The following is a research of its scientific perspective.

Unlike the bactericidal system of general disinfectants, the bactericidal task of o-phthalaldehyde is based upon its cross-linking action with amino acids and also proteins. Researches have actually shown that o-phthalaldehyde types solid cross-linked bonds with microbial cell wall surfaces, developing a barrier that avoids these compounds from interfering with the cell wall/membrane structure. Nevertheless, the securing and nonporous impact of o-phthalaldehyde additionally triggers an obstacle to the exchange important inside as well as outside the germs, which protects against the typical physical functions of the bacteria as well as hence promotes cell death.

On the various other hand, the morphology of o-phthalaldehyde in water is various from that of glutaraldehyde. While o-phthalaldehyde exists in solution as a solitary particle with free aldehyde groups that all play a sanitizing role, the dialdehyde molecule is created by the polymerization of aldehyde groups. Elements such as the kind of existence as well as the pH of the service affect the level of polymerization. The number of exposed complimentary aldehyde groups differs with the degree of polymerization, and also the variety of free aldehyde groups identifies its disinfection impact, so o-phthalaldehyde has a better bactericidal effect than glutaraldehyde.

Spores are much more resistant to the outdoors than bacterial propagules. This results from the development of outside structures consisting of huge quantities of pyridinedicarboxylic acid in the late phases of spore maturation. It was discovered that o-phenylenedicarboxaldehyde interacts mainly with amino acids on the spore covering. This cross-linking types a dangerous, solid covering that stops spore germination, to see to it that benzaldehyde gets rid of Bacillus subtilis spores not by harmful DNA yet by inactivating spore germination. The impact of benzaldehyde on the spore germination procedure is irreversible.

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Sarı, T., Dede, S., Yusufoğlu, B. et al. Determination of L-Phenylalanine in Human Plasma Samples with New Fluorometric Method. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 194, 1259–1270 (2022). 

Lee KS, Drescher DG. Derivatization of cysteine and cystine for fluorescence amino acid analysis with the o-phthaldialdehyde/2-mercaptoethanol reagent. J Biol Chem. 1979 Jul 25;254(14):6248-51. PMID: 109447.


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