The incidence of infections caused by Candida has increased worldwide and these strains are becoming resistant to their respective drugs, requiring the search for new drugs with greater efficacy and safety. Natural products are an alternative means of treatment. The essential oil (EO) stands out among these products, due to some biological activities relevant to human health, including antibiotic and antifungal activities, among others. The objective of this study was to evaluate the antifungal activity of the EO of Pogostemon cablin Benth using laboratory and experimental model. In evaluating antifungal activity, different strains of Candida genus was used, the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) and the Minimum Fungicidal Concentration (MFC) were determined by microdilution technique. The interference of the EO on the cell wall and its potential for rupture was done by MIC in the presence of sorbitol, and the interference on the cell membrane was done by MIC with ergosterol. The interference of the EO on the resistance to the standard antifungal drug, in the absence and in the presence of the EO in sub-inhibitory concentrations, was also evaluated. The analysis performed revealed that the EO showed excellent antifungal activity against clinical strains of C. parapsilosis and C. albicans with a MIC and CFM between 4 and 16 μg/mL. Mechanism of action involved no effect on the cell wall as well as on the plasma membrane. It promoted a synergistic effect when associated with amphotericin B. It is hoped that these results can contribute to the study of biological activities of natural products.
Key words: Pogostemon cablin Benth essential oil, anti-fungal activity, Candida genus.
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