This study was undertaken to compare the antifungal properties of clove (Syzygium aromaticus) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) oils with the synthetic antifungal agents notably, amphotericin B, itraconazole, fluconazole and ketoconazole against Candida albicans in vitro. This is necessary if oil extracts can replace antifungal antibiotics as agents for the treatment of candidiasis. The minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of the essential oils were determined by first solubilizing them with dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) followed by serial two-fold dilutions in Sabouraud’s broth using Candida albicans (ATCC 10231) control and other 10 isolates of C. albicans. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of the oils, showing no visible fungal growth, varied from 1.0 x 103 to 2.5 x 103 µg/mL for clove and 4.6 x 102 to 9.3 x 102 µg/mL for thyme while their minimum antifungal end-points were 2.5 x 103 and 1.9 x 103µg/mL, respectively. Thyme oil was more antifungal than clove oil. The mean of the MIC’s of the antifungal agents notably amphotericin B, ketoconazole, fluconazole and itraconazole were 0.031, 0.015, 1.9, and 0.168 µg/mL, respectively, indicating that they are more antifungal than the oil extracts. The experiment indicates that,in vitro, the antifungal antibiotics are more antifungal than the essential oils. Perhaps, the mode of extraction of the oils may have contributed to the active agents being suboptimal in the extracts.
Key words: Candida spp., thyme, clove, antifungal antibiotics, essential oil.
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