Difference Between Antibacterial and Antibiotic

Main Difference

The main difference between antibacterial and antibiotic is that antibacterial is the physical agents or chemicals that are used against bacteria, whereas an antibiotic is the physical agents or chemicals that are used against microorganisms.

Antibacterial vs. Antibiotic

“Anti” means against. Antibacterial means that chemicals or drugs that are used against bacteria, whereas “bio” means “life” so antibiotics mean that chemicals or drugs that are used against microorganisms. It’s mean that antibiotics are a broad term that also covers antibacterials. So, we can say that all antibiotic can be used as antibacterials too whereas all antibacterials are not antibiotics. We can get antibacterial and antibiotics naturally or can be synthesized artificially or by semi-synthetic mode. All of these drugs vary in their mode of action or their target. The first antibiotic was Penicillin that was discovered by Alexander Flemming. Now many other drugs have been discovered like Amoxicillin, Cloxacillin, Aminoglycosides, and Cephalosporin, etc.

Comparison Chart

AntibacterialAntibiotic
An antibacterial is a drug or a chemical substance that is specifically used to kill bacterial cells.An antibiotic can be defined as any drug or chemical substance that is used to kill bacteria, fungi, and parasites, etc.
Quality
Antibacterial is a subset.Antibiotic is a superset.
Target Organism
Antibacterial target bacteria.Antibiotics target bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
Target Cells
Antibacterials target prokaryotic cells.Antibiotics target both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
Targeted Cell Sites
Antibacterials target peptidoglycan cell wall, bacterial DNA, and its metabolism.Antibiotics target both bacterial peptidoglycan and fungal chitin and glucan cell walls and DNA of parasites.
Found In
Antibacterials are found in substances that are used as soaps, ointments, and disinfectants, etc.Antibiotics are used as medicines that are taken as tablets, capsules, or through an intravenous line.
Side Effects
Antibacterials are less harmful to people because they only target prokaryotic cells.Antibiotics are more harmful because they target both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
Types
Antibacterials are divided into bacteriocidal and bacteriostatic.Antibiotics are divided into antibacterials, antifungals, and antiparasitics.

What is Antibacterial?

Antibacterials are the compounds or agents that are used to either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria which are harmful to the body. So, these are the substances that are only effective against prokaryotic organisms that have the features typical of a bacterial cell. They produced naturally and can also be obtained artificially by synthesizing in the laboratory. Antibacterials target on specific features of bacteria, e.g., the peptidoglycan cell wall, DNA of bacterial or metabolism that is unique to bacteria. As, Antibacterials only target prokaryotic cells so, they are less harmful to people. Antibacterials are found in substances, e.g., soaps, ointments, and disinfectants, etc. Overuse of these chemicals, like excessive washing with hand sanitizers, may cause allergies later in life.

Types

  • Bactericidal: Bactericidal are the antibacterials that completely kill or destroy bacterial cells.
  • Bacteriostatic: Bacteriostatic are antibacterials that inhibit the reproduction and growth of bacteria.

What is Antibiotic?

Antibiotic is any drug or chemical substance that is used to kill bacteria, fungi, and parasites, etc. So, it’s mean it can be used against both prokaryote and eukaryote organisms. They can also be obtained both naturally and artificially. Most of the antibiotics have been discovered by observing the natural organisms fighting against bacteria. Antibiotics can target both bacterial peptidoglycan and fungal chitin and glucan cell walls and DNA of parasites. Antibiotics are more harmful because they target both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. They can also kill useful bacteria and may also affect our body cells. Antibiotics are used as medicines that are taken as tablets, capsules, or through an intravenous line.

Types

  • Antibacterials: They kill bacteria.
  • Antifungals: They kill fungi.
  • Antiparasitics: They kill parasites.

Key Differences

  1. An antibacterial is a drug or a chemical substance that is specifically used to kill bacterial cells whereas an antibiotic can be defined as any drug or chemical substance that is used to kill bacteria, fungi, and parasites, etc.
  2. Antibacterial is a subset; on the other hand; antibiotic is a superset.
  3. Antibacterials target bacteria conversely, antibiotics, target bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
  4. Antibacterials target prokaryotic cells on the flip side; antibiotics target both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
  5. Antibacterials target peptidoglycan cell wall, bacterial DNA, and its metabolism while antibiotics target both bacterial peptidoglycan and fungal chitin and glucan cell walls and DNA of parasites.
  6. Antibacterials are found in substances that are used as soaps, ointments, and disinfectants, etc. on the other hand; antibiotics are used as medicines that are taken as tablets, capsules or through an intravenous line.
  7. Antibacterials are less harmful to people because they only target prokaryotic cells, whereas, antibiotics are more harmful because they target both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
  8. Antibacterials are divided into bactericidal and bacteriostatic while antibiotics are divided into antibacterials, antifungals, and antiparasitics.

Comparison Video

YouTube video

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it is summarized that both antibacterials and antibiotics are chemicals or drugs. Antibacterial kills harmful bacteria specifically that affect our body, whereas, an antibiotic is a broad term that includes all antibacterials, antifungals, and antiparasitics, etc.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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