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Can J Microbiol. 2011 Mar;57(3):204-10. doi: 10.1139/W10-117.

Curcumin as a promising anticandidal of clinical interest.

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Department of Biosciences, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi 110025, India.


Curcumin, an important Asian spice, is part of many Indian food preparations. This work evaluates the antifungal activity of curcumin against 14 strains of Candida (10 clinical and 4 standard). Curcumin displayed antifungal properties against all tested Candida strains, with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) varying from 250 to 2000 µg·mL⁻¹. The in vitro effect of curcumin on growth, sterol content, proteinase secretion, and H+ extrusion by plasma membrane ATPase was investigated for 2 standard strains Candida albicans ATCC 10261 and Candida glabrata ATCC 90030 and compared with the effect of fluconazole. At MIC, curcumin inhibited H+ extrusion in 2 species of Candida by 42% and 32% in the absence of glucose and by 28% and 18% in the presence of glucose. Respective inhibition of H+ extrusion caused by the MIC of fluconazole was 85% and 89% in the absence of glucose and 61% and 66% in its presence. Ergosterol content decreased by 70% and 53% for the 2 strains following exposure to curcumin at MIC; comparative values for fluconazole at MIC were 93% and 98%. Curcumin and fluconazole decreased proteinase secretion by 49% and 53%, respectively, in C. albicans and by 39% and 46%, respectively, in C. glabrata. In conclusion, curcumin is found to be active against all tested clinical and standard strains but is less effective than fluconazole. Antifungal activity of curcumin might be originating from alteration of membrane-associated properties of ATPase activity, ergosterol biosynthesis, and proteinase secretion.

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