Investigation on mechanism of antifungal activity of eugenol against Trichophyton rubrum

Med Mycol. 2013 Jul;51(5):507-13. doi: 10.3109/13693786.2012.742966. Epub 2012 Nov 27.


Trichophyton rubrum is a worldwide agent responsible for chronic cases of dermatophytosis which have high rates of resistance to antifungal drugs. Attention has been drawn to the antimicrobial activity of aromatic compounds because of their promising biological properties. Therefore, we investigated the antifungal activity of eugenol against 14 strains of T. rubrum which involved determining its minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and effects on mycelial growth (dry weight), conidial germination and morphogenesis. The effects of eugenol on the cell wall (sorbitol protect effect) and the cell membrane (release of intracellular material, complex with ergosterol, ergosterol synthesis) were investigated. Eugenol inhibited the growth of 50% of T. rubrum strains employed in this study at an MIC = 256 μg/ml, as well as mycelial growth and conidia germination. It also caused abnormalities in the morphology of the dermatophyte in that we found wide, short, twisted hyphae and decreased conidiogenesis. The results of these studies on the mechanisms of action suggested that eugenol exerts antifungal effects on the cell wall and cell membrane of T. rubrum. Eugenol act on cell membrane by a mechanism that seems to involve the inhibition of ergosterol biosynthesis. The lower ergosterol content interferes with the integrity and functionality of the cell membrane. Finally, our studies support the potential use of the eugenol as an antifungal agent against T. rubrum.

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Wall / drug effects
  • Ergosterol / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Ergosterol / biosynthesis
  • Eugenol / pharmacology*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mycelium / drug effects
  • Mycelium / growth & development
  • Spores, Fungal / drug effects
  • Spores, Fungal / growth & development
  • Trichophyton / drug effects*
  • Trichophyton / growth & development


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Eugenol
  • Ergosterol