Essential oil of clove, dispersed (0.4% v/v) in a concentrated sugar solution, had a marked germicidal effect against various bacteria and Candida albicans. Staphylococcus aureus (five strains), Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Clostridium perfringens, and Escherichia coli inoculated at a level of 10(7) cfu/ml, and C. albicans (inoculum 4.0 x 10(5) cfu/ml) were killed (greater than 99.999%) after 2-7 min in a laboratory broth supplemented with 63% (v/w) of sugar, and containing 0.4% (v/w) of essential oil of clove. Added organic matter (i.e. human or bovine serum) did not impair its antimicrobial activity. Sugar was not necessary for the antimicrobial activity of clove oil, but the concentrated sugar solution provided a good vehicle for obtaining an oil dispersion that is relatively stable for certain practical applications.