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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 378280, 9 pages
Research Article

Evaluation of Antifungal Activity and Mechanism of Action of Citral against Candida albicans

1Federal Institute of Education, Science, and Technology of Paraíba (IFPB), 58780-000 Itaporanga, PB, Brazil
2Mycology Laboratory, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Federal University of Paraíba, 58051-970 João Pessoa, PB, Brazil

Received 23 May 2014; Revised 16 July 2014; Accepted 5 August 2014; Published 28 August 2014

Academic Editor: Didier Stien

Copyright © 2014 Maria Clerya Alvino Leite et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Candida albicans is a yeast that commensally inhabits the human body and can cause opportunistic or pathogenic infections. Objective. To investigate the antifungal activity of citral against C. albicans. Methodology. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and the minimum fungicidal concentration (MFC) were determined by the broth microdilution techniques. We also investigated possible citral action on cell walls (0.8 M sorbitol), cell membranes (citral to ergosterol binding), the time-kill curve, and biological activity on the yeast’s morphology. Results. The MIC and MFC of citral were, respectively, 64 µg/mL and 256 µg/mL. Involvement with the cell wall and ergosterol binding were excluded as possible mechanisms of action. In the morphological interference assay, it was observed that the product inhibited pseudohyphae and chlamydoconidia formation. The MIC and the MFC of citral required only 4 hours of exposure to effectively kill 99.9% of the inoculum. Conclusion. Citral showed in vitro antifungal potential against strains of C. albicans. Citral’s mechanism of action does not involve the cell wall or ergosterol, and further study is needed to completely describe its effects before being used in the future as a component of new antifungals.