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Quaternary ammonium cation

Similar term(s): Quats, Quaternary ammonium salt, Quaternary ammonium compound.

Definition:

Quaternary ammonium cations are positively charged ions with the structure NR4+ with N being a nitrogen atom and R being alkyl groups consisting of carbon and hydrogen atoms arranged in a chain. They are permanently charged, independently of the acidity of their solution.

Quaternary ammonium salts, also referred to as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats”, are salts of quaternary ammonium cations combined with a negatively charged anion. They are used as disinfectants, surfactants, fabric softeners, and as antistatic agents (e.g. in shampoo).

Source: GreenFacts

Related words:

Alkyl group - Antimicrobial - Biocide(s) - Ion(s) - Surfactant

To read about this term in context:

GreenFacts Summary on Effects of Biocides on antibiotic resistance:

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