The first application of phenolic compounds as antimicrobial agents goes back as far as 1815, when coal tar was used as an antiseptic and disinfectant. It was, however, not until Kuchenmeister in 1860 and Lister in 1867 used phenol (carbolic acid) as a dressing for wounds and in surgery, respectively, that the full potential of this type of agent began to be realized. Although phenol itself is no longer used as an antimicrobial agent, many of its derivatives are extremely important as the active component in numerous antiseptics, in institutional and commercial disinfectants, and in the preservation of various formulations and materials.
- Block S (2001). Disinfection, Sterilization, and Preservation