Effect of edible sesame oil on growth of clinical isolates of Candida albicans

Biol Res Nurs. 2014 Jul;16(3):335-43. doi: 10.1177/1099800413501539. Epub 2013 Sep 19.


Elderly individuals are at increased risk of oral thrush (oral candidiasis) due to decreased saliva secretion. Due to their antimicrobial properties, edible oils can be effective natural agents for oral care. The objective of the present study was to compare the effects of sesame oil, which is widely used for cooking in Asian countries, and two other edible oils on the growth of both mycelial and yeast forms of five clinical isolates of Candida albicans, a causative microorganism of oral thrush. We assessed the effect of each oil in concentrations of 0.078%, 0.156%, and 0.313% on growth of the mycelial forms of the clinical isolates over 24 hr using the crystal violet method. We also evaluated the effect of each oil on growth of the yeast forms by counting the number of viable yeast cells after culturing in the oils for 24 hr. Sesame oil inhibited the growth of both mycelial and yeast forms. Safflower and olive oil also inhibited the growth of both forms of C. albicans but to a lesser extent than sesame oil. The ability to inhibit the growth of the mycelial form correlated with sesame oil concentration. Roasting influenced growth inhibition ability and high-roasted sesame oil most effectively inhibited the yeast form. The growth inhibitory effect differed among the five isolates. We hypothesize that the sesamin and fatty acid components of sesame oil are involved in its antifungal activity.

Keywords: Candida albicans; antifungal activity; clinical isolates; edible oils; sesame oil.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / growth & development*
  • Mycelium / drug effects
  • Mycelium / growth & development
  • Olive Oil / pharmacology
  • Safflower Oil / pharmacology
  • Sesame Oil / pharmacology*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Olive Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Sesame Oil