Infections associated with drug resistant strains and biofilms of Candida albicans have necessitated search for novel molecules with antifungal properties. Caffeine, a major component of the most widely consumed beverages, coffee and tea, is known to possess various biological properties. To evaluate antifungal potential, its effect on growth and virulence attributes of C. albicans was studied using standard methodologies. Caffeine showed fungistatic effect on planktonic growth of two strains of C. albicans (including a fluconazole resistant strain), exhibiting minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) at 12.5 mM concentration. Around 30% decrease in the adhesion of cells in the presence of caffeine indicated considerable anti-adhesion activity. Caffeine prevented formation of biofilms (which are drug resistant forms), in a concentration dependent manner. Analysis by 2,3-bis-(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium-5-carboxanilide (XTT) metabolic assay and microscopic observations showed inhibition of biofilm development at 25 mM concentration. This study, for the first time demonstrates dietary chemical, caffeine, as a potential inhibitor of growth, adhesion and biofilm formation by C. albicans.
Key words: Adhesion, antifungal, biofilms, Candida, drug resistance.
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