Curcumin as a promising anticandidal of clinical interest

Can J Microbiol. 2011 Mar;57(3):204-10. doi: 10.1139/W10-117.


Curcumin, an important Asian spice, is part of many Indian food preparations. This work evaluates the antifungal activity of curcumin against 14 strains of Candida (10 clinical and 4 standard). Curcumin displayed antifungal properties against all tested Candida strains, with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) varying from 250 to 2000 µg·mL⁻¹. The in vitro effect of curcumin on growth, sterol content, proteinase secretion, and H+ extrusion by plasma membrane ATPase was investigated for 2 standard strains Candida albicans ATCC 10261 and Candida glabrata ATCC 90030 and compared with the effect of fluconazole. At MIC, curcumin inhibited H+ extrusion in 2 species of Candida by 42% and 32% in the absence of glucose and by 28% and 18% in the presence of glucose. Respective inhibition of H+ extrusion caused by the MIC of fluconazole was 85% and 89% in the absence of glucose and 61% and 66% in its presence. Ergosterol content decreased by 70% and 53% for the 2 strains following exposure to curcumin at MIC; comparative values for fluconazole at MIC were 93% and 98%. Curcumin and fluconazole decreased proteinase secretion by 49% and 53%, respectively, in C. albicans and by 39% and 46%, respectively, in C. glabrata. In conclusion, curcumin is found to be active against all tested clinical and standard strains but is less effective than fluconazole. Antifungal activity of curcumin might be originating from alteration of membrane-associated properties of ATPase activity, ergosterol biosynthesis, and proteinase secretion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Candida glabrata / drug effects*
  • Candida glabrata / growth & development
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Ergosterol / analysis
  • Fluconazole / pharmacology
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Peptide Hydrolases / analysis
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Fluconazole
  • Peptide Hydrolases
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases
  • Curcumin
  • Glucose
  • Ergosterol