Adhesion to a variety of host cells and the surface of biomaterials is a critical step in successful colonization and infection by Candida spp. Several essential oils are known to possess antifungal properties and are potentially used as antifungal agents. By studying the efficacy of essential oils against different pathogenic fungi in the genus Candida, we have evaluated the in vitro antifungal effects of eight essential oils used in aromatherapy, namely holy basil (Ocimum sactum L), lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus DC), citronella grass (Cymbopogon winterianus Jowitt), kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix DC), sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum Linn), Plai (Zingiber cassumunar Roxb), Curcuma (Curcuma longa Linn), and ginger (Zingiber officinale Rose), against Candida albicans and Candida krusei in both planktonic and biofilm form. The results revealed that among the tested essential oils, lemongrass oil exhibited the most effective killing activity and possessed the strongest inhibitory effect on Candida biofilm formation. In addition, lemongrass oil and its major constituents can inhibit germ tube formation, which might affect adherence. The data in this study indicates that lemongrass oil possessed antibiofilm activity and could modulate candidal colonization. Therefore, it is a promising essential oil to combat candidal colonization and infection. © 2012 South African Association of Botanists.
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