Capric acid secreted by S. boulardii inhibits C. albicans filamentous growth, adhesion and biofilm formation

PLoS One. 2010 Aug 10;5(8):e12050. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012050.


Candidiasis are life-threatening systemic fungal diseases, especially of gastro intestinal track, skin and mucous membranes lining various body cavities like the nostrils, the mouth, the lips, the eyelids, the ears or the genital area. Due to increasing resistance of candidiasis to existing drugs, it is very important to look for new strategies helping the treatment of such fungal diseases. One promising strategy is the use of the probiotic microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit. Such a probiotic microorganism is yeast Saccharomyces boulardii, a close relative of baker yeast. Saccharomyces boulardii cells and their extract affect the virulence factors of the important human fungal pathogen C. albicans, its hyphae formation, adhesion and biofilm development. Extract prepared from S. boulardii culture filtrate was fractionated and GC-MS analysis showed that the active fraction contained, apart from 2-phenylethanol, caproic, caprylic and capric acid whose presence was confirmed by ESI-MS analysis. Biological activity was tested on C. albicans using extract and pure identified compounds. Our study demonstrated that this probiotic yeast secretes into the medium active compounds reducing candidal virulence factors. The chief compound inhibiting filamentous C. albicans growth comparably to S. boulardii extract was capric acid, which is thus responsible for inhibition of hyphae formation. It also reduced candidal adhesion and biofilm formation, though three times less than the extract, which thus contains other factors suppressing C. albicans adherence. The expression profile of selected genes associated with C. albicans virulence by real-time PCR showed a reduced expression of HWP1, INO1 and CSH1 genes in C. albicans cells treated with capric acid and S. boulardii extract. Hence capric acid secreted by S. boulardii is responsible for inhibition of C. albicans filamentation and partially also adhesion and biofilm formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / genetics
  • Candida albicans / growth & development*
  • Candida albicans / physiology
  • Decanoic Acids / analysis
  • Decanoic Acids / chemistry
  • Decanoic Acids / metabolism*
  • Decanoic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / drug effects
  • Hyphae / drug effects
  • Hyphae / growth & development
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / analysis
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / chemistry
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / metabolism
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / pharmacology
  • Plastics / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces / metabolism*
  • Surface Properties


  • Decanoic Acids
  • Plastics
  • decanoic acid
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol