Investigating the antifungal activity and mechanism(s) of geraniol against Candida albicans strains

Med Mycol. 2015 Apr;53(3):275-84. doi: 10.1093/mmy/myu078. Epub 2014 Dec 5.


Candida albicans can be a yeast that is a commensal on the human body but can cause opportunistic or pathogenic infections. Candida infections may create serious health problems and as a result has initiated a search for new drugs with an antifungal action. Geraniol is an acyclic monoterpene alcohol with known pharmacological properties, including antimicrobial activity. The aim of this work was to evaluate the antifungal activity and mechanism(s) of geraniol against C. albicans strains. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined through broth microdilution techniques. We investigated possible geraniol activity on the fungal cell wall (sorbitol protect effect), cell membrane (geraniol to ergosterol binding), the time-kill curve, and its biological activity on the yeast's morphology. Amphotericin B was used as control, and all tests were performed in duplicate. The MIC of geraniol was 16 μg/ml (for 90% of isolates) but its probable mechanism of action did not involve the cell wall and ergosterol binding. In the morphological interference assay, we observed that the product inhibited pseudohyphae and chlamydoconidia formation. Time-dependent kill curve assay demonstrated that the fungicidal activity for MIC × 2 started at 2 h for the ATCC 76485 strain, and at 4 h for the LM-70 strain. Geraniol showed in vitro antifungal potential against strains of C. albicans but did not involve action on the cell wall or ergosterol. This study contributes to the development of new antifungal drugs, especially against Candida spp.

Keywords: Candida albicans; antifungal activity; biological products; geraniol; terpenes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Candida albicans / cytology
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / physiology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects
  • Terpenes / pharmacology*


  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Terpenes
  • geraniol