Most manifestations of candidiasis are associated with biofilm formation occurring on the surfaces of host tissues and medical devices. Candida albicans is the most frequently isolated causative pathogen of candidiasis, and the biofilms display significantly increased levels of resistance to the conventional antifungal agents. Eugenol, the major phenolic component of clove essential oil, possesses potent antifungal activity. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of eugenol on preformed biofilms, adherent cells, subsequent biofilm formation and cell morphogenesis of C. albicans. Eugenol displayed in vitro activity against C. albicans cells within biofilms, when MIC(50) for sessile cells was 500 mg/L. C. albicans adherent cell populations (after 0, 1, 2 and 4 h of adherence) were treated with various concentrations of eugenol (0, 20, 200 and 2,000 mg/L). The extent of subsequent biofilm formation were then assessed with the tetrazolium salt reduction assay. Effect of eugenol on morphogenesis of C. albicans cells was observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results indicated that the effect of eugenol on adherent cells and subsequent biofilm formation was dependent on the initial adherence time and the concentration of this compound, and that eugenol can inhibit filamentous growth of C. albicans cells. In addition, using human erythrocytes, eugenol showed low hemolytic activity. These results indicated that eugenol displayed potent activity against C. albicans biofilms in vitro with low cytotoxicity and therefore has potential therapeutic implication for biofilm-associated candidal infections.