Antifungal Activity of the Essential Oils of Callitris neocaledonica and C. sulcata Heartwood (Cupressaceae).Chem Biodivers. 2012 Mar; 9(3):644-53.CB
Mortality due to fungal infections has increased substantially, becoming a worldwide problem in public health. As a contribution to the discovery of new antifungal agents, the properties of the heartwood essential oils of two trees growing in New Caledonia, Callitris neocaledonica and C. sulcata (Cupressaceae) were investigated. The essential oils extracted by hydrodistillation were characterized by GC-FID and GC/MS analyses. From C. neocaledonica oil, 31 constituents were identified, representing 97.0% of the total oil composition, which was mainly constituted by oxygenated sesquiterpenes (88%). Among them, guaiol (1; 30.2%), bulnesol (2; 12.5%), α-eudesmol (3; 10.5%), β-eudesmol (4; 10.5%), γ-eudesmol (10.2%), and elemol (4.9%) predominated. The chemical composition of C. sulcata oil, from which 39 constituents were identified (96.8% of the total oil composition), showed some similarities with that of C. neocaledonica oil. The major constituents were also oxygenated sesquiterpenes, accounting for 78.5% of the oil, amongst them, mainly compounds 1 (16.1%), 3 and 4 (9.7% each), as well as 2 (7.4%). The antifungal activity of the oils against clinical isolates of four dermatophytic fungi (Trichophyton mentagrophytes, T. rubrum, Microsporum canis, and M. gypseum) and six yeasts (Candida albicans, C. parapsilosis, C. glabrata, C. krusei, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Cryptococcus gattii) was tested by determining minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) using the microdilution method. The best antifungal activities of the C. neocaledonica and C. sulcata oils were obtained against C. krusei (MICs of 3.9 and 0.975 μg/ml, resp.). These MIC values were similar to those of the reference drugs itraconazole and fluconazole (1.0 and 0.5 mg/ml, resp.). The oils were also subjected to a screening for their possible DPPH(.) (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) radical-scavenging activity. C. neocaledonica essential oil was more active than C. sulcata oil (93.3 vs. 32.2% DPPH(.) scavenged at 250 μg/ml).