Real-time microscopic observation of Candida biofilm development and effects due to micafungin and fluconazole

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 May;57(5):2226-30. doi: 10.1128/AAC.02290-12. Epub 2013 Mar 4.


To understand the process of Candida biofilm development and the effects of antifungal agents on biofilms, we analyzed real-time data comprising time-lapse images taken at times separated by brief intervals. The growth rate was calculated by measuring the change of biofilm thickness every hour. For the antifungal study, 5-h-old biofilms of Candida albicans were treated with either micafungin (MCFG) or fluconazole (FLCZ). MCFG began to suppress biofilm growth a few minutes after the initiation of the treatment, and this effect was maintained over the course of the observation period. In contrast, the suppressive effects of FLCZ on biofilm growth took longer to manifest: biofilms grew in the first 5 h after treatment, and then their growth was suppressed over the next 10 h, finally producing results similar to those observed with MCFG. MCFG was also involved in the disruption of cells in the biofilms, releasing string-like structures (undefined extracellular component) from the burst hyphae. Thus, MCFG inhibited the detachment of yeast cell clusters from the tips of hyphae. In contrast, FLCZ did not disrupt biofilm cells. MCFG also showed fast antifungal activity against Candida parapsilosis biofilms. In conclusion, our results show that inhibition of glucan synthesis due to MCFG contributed not only to fungicidal activity but also to the immediate suppression of biofilm growth, while FLCZ suppressed growth by inhibiting ergosterol synthesis. Therefore, those characteristic differences should be considered when treating clinical biofilm infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Echinocandins / pharmacology*
  • Ergosterol / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Ergosterol / biosynthesis
  • Fluconazole / pharmacology*
  • Glucans / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Glucans / biosynthesis
  • Hyphae / drug effects
  • Hyphae / growth & development
  • Kinetics
  • Lipopeptides / pharmacology*
  • Micafungin
  • Microscopy
  • Time-Lapse Imaging*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Echinocandins
  • Glucans
  • Lipopeptides
  • Fluconazole
  • Micafungin
  • Ergosterol