The antimicrobial properties of volatile aromatic oils have been recognized since antiquity. Oregano and clove oils have been shown to possess a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity. In this paper, the fungicidal action of these two essential oils was studied on the yeast model Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Yeast cell lysis was shown by the release of substances absorbing at 260 nm. In addition, scanning electron microscopy analyses revealed that the surface of treated cells by oregano and clove oils was significantly damaged. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.