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Acta Biochim Pol. 2014;61(1):115-21. Epub 2014 Mar 19.

Enzymatic profile, adhesive and invasive properties of Candida albicans under the influence of selected plant essential oils.

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Department of Immunology and Infectious Biology, Institute of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Immunology, University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland.


The influence of essential oils (EOs) used at sublethal level, on the presence and intensity of Candida albicans virulence factors was evaluated. Minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of Lemon balm, Citronella, Geranium and Clove oils were established as 0.097% (v/v). Using the agar plates with substrates for proteases, phospholipases and hemolysins it was shown that C. albicans ATCC 10231 and C. albicans ATCC 90028 strains differed in the type and amount of enzymes produced. No significant difference in their total amount could be detected after pretreatment for 24 h with EOs at ½ MIC. However, the short-term (1 h) acting oils at MIC caused a statistically significant reduction in this activity. In the API ZYM test it was demonstrated that both strains exhibited activity of the same 9 out of 19 enzyme types and that EOs caused a significant decrease in the release of some of them. In the presence of subMIC of EOs, or when the fungus had previously been exposed to the MIC of oil, germ tubes formation was significantly and irreversibly reduced. Such C. albicans spotted on the Spider agar containing EOs at subMICs were unable to penetrate the agar. A significant decrease in the C. albicans adhesion to the fibroblast monolayer with respect to controls was also demonstrated when yeasts had been exposed to EOs at MIC (1 h) in liquid medium. Thus, it has been shown that tested oils, used even at subMIC, exhibit significant activity reducing the presence/quantity of important C. albicans virulence factors.

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