Boric acid has been used for over 20 years to preserve urine while in transit for bacteriological examination. It has been suggested that it may be toxic for some urinary pathogens. To investigate this several strains of bacteria and fungi commonly found in urine were exposed to different concentrations of boric acid in nutrient broth. Viable counts were made at the outset and at intervals for up to 24 hours at room temperature to detect bacteriostatic or bactericidal effects. At concentrations between 10 and 20 g/l boric acid was bacteriostatic or fungistatic for very nearly all the common urinary pathogens. At 10 g/l boric acid was weakly bactericidal for some strains of Acinetobacter calcoaceticus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, though higher concentrations were bacteriostatic only. Group B streptococci varied in their response to boric acid, but for most of them 10 or 20 g/l was satisfactorily bacteriostatic. It is concluded that boric acid is rarely toxic, and when it is, the effect is usually sufficiently delayed to be of only theoretical importance.
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