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J Clin Microbiol. Mar 1995; 33(3): 661–667.
PMCID: PMC228010

Susceptibility testing of Candida albicans and Aspergillus species by a simple microtiter menadione-augmented 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide assay.


We describe a simple microtiter method for determining the susceptibility of Candida albicans and hyphal forms of Aspergillus fumigatus against antifungal agents. The assay measures mitochondrial respiration by determining reduction of 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) to formazan, a process that is enhanced in the presence of menadione. C. albicans or conidial suspensions of A. fumigatus are seeded into microtiter plates. Hyphal outgrowth of Aspergillus spp. was achieved by a 12 to 14-h culture at 30 degrees C. Antifungal agents (amphotericin B, fluconazole, itraconazole) were added to the cultures for 24 h. Thereafter, incubations were continued for 3 h in the presence of MTT plus 0.1 mM menadione. Formazan formation was quantified photometrically after extraction of the formazan with acid isopropanol. Well-defined dose-response curves reflecting impairment of mitochondrial function by the antifungal agents were obtained. With C. albicans, the results correlated excellently with the MIC determinations performed according to the standard macrodilution procedure. In confirmation of a recent report, it was found that fluconazole was unable to exert its fungistatic action on a sensitive C. albicans strain in the presence of serum. The presented method can easily be integrated in the standard repertoire of a diagnostic microbiology laboratory and should prove useful as a means to assess the antifungal action of various agents on yeasts and filamentous fungi in the presence and absence of serum proteins or body fluids.

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