Trichophyton rubrum is one of the most common fungi causer of dermatophytosis, mycosis that affect humans and animals around the world. Researches aiming new products with antifungal activity become necessary to overcome difficulties on treatment of these infections. Accordingly, this study aimed to investigate the antifungal activity of essential oil from Cymbopogon winterianus against the dermatophyte T. rubrum. The antifungal screening was performed by solid medium diffusion method with 16 T. rubrum strains, minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum fungicide concentration (MFC) were determined using the microdilution method. The effects on mycelial dry weight and morphology were also observed. Screening showed essential oil in natura inhibited all the tested strains, with inhibition zones between 24-28 mm diameter. MIC50 and MIC90 values of the essential oil were 312 μg/mL for nearly all the essayed strains (93.75 %) while the MFC50 and MFC90 values were about eight times higher than MIC for all tested strains. All tested essential oil concentrations managed to inhibit strongly the mycelium development. Main morphological changes on the fungal strains observed under light microscopy, which were provided by the essential oil include loss of conidiation, alterations concerning form and pigmentation of hyphae. In the oil presence, colonies showed folds, cream color and slightly darker than the control, pigment production was absent on the reverse and with evident folds. It is concluded that C. winterianus essential oil showed activity against T. rubrum. Therefore, it could be known as potential antifungal compound especially for protection against dermatophytosis.
Keywords: Cymbopogon; Trichophyton; essential oil.