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Mycopathologia. 2005 Aug;160(1):85-91.

Chicory extracts from Cichorium intybus L. as potential antifungals.

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Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, University of Ferrara, Porta Mare 2, I-44100, Ferrara, Italy.


In this work extracts from roots of the common vegetable Cichorium intybus L., highly appreciated for its bitter taste, were studied to investigate their possible biological activity on fungi from a variety of ecological environments: some are parasites on plants (phytopathogens) or of animals and humans (zoophilic and anthropophilic dermatophytes), others live on the soil and only seldom parasitize animals (geophilic dermatophytes). The extracts were ineffective on geophilic species and on tested phytopathogens, with the exception of Pythium ultimum, whereas they inhibited the growth of zoophilic and anthropophilic dermatophytes, in particular Trichophyton tonsurans var. sulfureum, whose treatment caused morphological anomalies, here observed by scanning electron microscopy. This behaviour is discussed on the basis of the presence in the chicory extract of the two main sesquiterpene lactones, 8-deoxylactucin and 11 beta,13-dihydrolactucin.

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