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Indian J Exp Biol. 2013 Nov;51(11):1032-7.

Candida albicans biofilm inhibition by synergistic action of terpenes and fluconazole.

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Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee 247 667, India.


The current treatment options for Candida albicans biofilm-device related infections are very scarce due to their intrinsic increased tolerance to antimycotics. The aim of this work was to study synergistic action of terpenes (eugenol, menthol and thymol) with fluconazole (FLA) on C. albicans biofilm inhibition. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assayed using CLSI M27-A3 broth micro-dilution method showed antifungal activity against C. albicans MTCC 227 at a concentration of 0.12 % (v/v) for both thymol and eugenol as compared to 0.25 % (v/v) for menthol. FLA was taken as positive control. The effect of these terpenes on metabolic activity of preformed C. albicans biofilm cells was evaluated using 2,3-bis (2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium-5-carboxanilide (XTT) reduction assay in 96-well polystyrene microtiter plate. Thymol and eugenol were more effective at lower concentrations of > or = 1.0 % (v/v) than menthol. Synergistic studies using checkerboard micro-dilution assay showed fractional inhibitory concentration index (sigma FIC = 0.31) between thymol/FLA followed by eugenol/FLA (sigma FIC = 0.37) and menthol/FLA (sigma FIC < 0.5) against pre-formed C. albicans biofilms. Thymol with fluconazole showed highest synergy in reduction of biofilm formation than eugenol and menthol which was not observed when their activities were observed independently. Adherence assay showed 30% viability of C. albicans cells after 2 h of treatment with 0.05 % (v/v) thymol/FLA. Effect of thymol/FLA on C. albicans adhesion visualized by SEM micrographs showed disruption in number of candidal cells and alteration in structural design of C. albicans. Thus, the study demonstrated synergistic effect of terpenes with fluconazole on C. albicans biofilm, which could be future medications for biofilm infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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