Control of microbial growth means to inhibit or prevent growth of microorganisms. This control is affected in two basic ways: (1) by killing microorganisms or (2) by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms.
Control of growth usually involves the use of physical or chemical agents which either kill or prevent the growth of microorganisms.
Agents which kill cells are called cidal agents; agents which inhibit the growth of cells (without killing them) are referred to as static agents. Thus, the term bactericidal refers to killing bacteria, and bacteriostatic refers to inhibiting the growth of bacterial cells. A bactericide kills bacteria, a fungicide kills fungi, and so on.
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