Antifungal activity of essential oils and their synergy with fluconazole against drug-resistant strains of Aspergillus fumigatus and Trichophyton rubrum.Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011 May; 90(3):1083-94.AM
The aim of this study was to screen certain plant essential oils and active compounds for antifungal activity and their in vitro interaction with fluconazole against drug-resistant pathogenic fungi. The methods employed in this work included disc diffusion, broth macrodilution, time kill methods and checkerboard microtiter tests. Oil compositions were evaluated by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. Transmission electron microscopy was used to assess the effect of essential oils on cellular structures of test fungi. Test fungal strains exhibited resistance to at least two drugs (fluconazole and itraconazole). Among the 21 essential oils or active compounds tested, ten showed promising antifungal activity. GC-MS analysis revealed the presence of major active compounds in the essential oils used. Cinnamaldehyde showed the most promising antifungal activity and killing potency against Aspergillus fumigatus MTCC2550 and Trichophyton rubrum IOA-9. Cinnamaldehyde showed strongest synergy with fluconazole against A. fumigatus and T. rubrum by reducing the minimum inhibitory concentration of fluconazole up to 8-fold. Zones of lysis of the cell wall and cell membrane appeared to be where cinnamaldehyde acted on fungi. This study highlights the broad spectrum antifungal activity of essential oils and active compounds and their synergy with fluconazole against drug-resistant fungi.