Antifungal activity of essential oils against filamentous fungi determined by broth microdilution and vapour contact methods


Vivian Tullio, Department of Public Health and Microbiology, University of Turin, Via Santena 9, 10126 Turin, Italy.


Aims:  The in vitro activity of some essential oils (EO) (thyme red, fennel, clove, pine, sage, lemon balm and lavender) against clinical and environmental fungal strains was determined.

Methods and Results:  The minimal inhibitory concentrations were determined by a microdilution method in RPMI 1640 and by a vapour contact assay. The composition of oils was analysed by gas chromatography (GC) and GC/mass spectrometry. The results indicated that the oils antifungal activity depended on the experimental assay used. The inhibiting effects of EO in vapour phase were generally higher than those in liquid state. According to both methods thyme red and clove were found to be the oils with the widest spectrum of activity against all fungi tested.

Conclusions:  Despite the differences between the two methods, our results demonstrate that some EO are very active on dermatophytes and dematiaceous fungi. However, more data will be necessary to confirm this good in vitro efficacy.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  This study could identify candidates of EO for developing alternative methods to control environmental and clinically undesirable filamentous fungi.