In vitro activity of Citrus bergamia (bergamot) oil against clinical isolates of dermatophytes

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2007 Feb;59(2):305-8. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkl473. Epub 2006 Nov 20.


Objectives: Recently, bergamot oil was shown to be a potent antifungal agent in vitro against clinically important Candida species. In this study, the activities of bergamot natural essence and its furocoumarin-free and distilled extracts on dermatophytes such as Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton species were investigated.

Methods: In vitro susceptibility testing assays on 92 clinical isolates of dermatophytes (Trichophyton mentagrophytes n = 20, Trichophyton rubrum n = 18, Trichophyton interdigitale n = 15, Trichophyton tonsurans n = 2, Microsporum canis n = 24, Microsporum gypseum n = 1 and Epidermophyton floccosum n = 12) were performed using the CLSI M38-A broth microdilution method, except for employing an inoculum of 1-3 x 10(3) cfu/mL. MICs were determined at a visual endpoint reading of 80% inhibition compared with the growth control.

Results: MICs (v/v) of all fungi ranged from 0.156% to 2.5% for the natural essence, from 0.02% to 2.5% for the distilled extract, and from 0.08% to 1.25% for the furocoumarin-free extract. The three isolates of T. tonsurans and M. gypseum exhibited the highest MIC values.

Conclusions: Data from this study indicate that bergamot oil is active in vitro against several common species of dermatophytes, suggesting its potential use for topical treatment of dermatophytoses.

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Arthrodermataceae / drug effects*
  • Arthrodermataceae / growth & development
  • Arthrodermataceae / isolation & purification
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Plant Oils
  • bergamot oil