Hydrophobic properties of Candida spp. under the influence of selected essential oils

Acta Biochim Pol. 2015;62(4):663-8. doi: 10.18388/abp.2015_1096. Epub 2015 Nov 24.


Processes of colonization of biotic and abiotic surfaces and biofilm formation depend inter alia on hydrophobic properties of Candida spp. The aim of this research was to determine the effect of tea tree, thyme and clove essential oils on hydrophobic properties of environmental and clinical Candida isolates. The relative cell surface hydrophobicity of strains tested was high, and ranged from 68.7% to 91.2%, with the highest value for a C. rugosa food-borne strain. The effectiveness of essential oils was diversified and depended on the type of essential oil, concentration and yeast strain. Statistically significant decrease of hydrophobicity indexes was observed after application of tea tree oil for C. krusei, clove oil for C. albicans reference strain, and all essential oils tested for C. rugosa. Only in the case of C. famata food-borne strain and C. albicans clinical isolate, solely used essential oils did not affect their hydrophobic properties. To determine the interactions of essential oils, their mixtures (1 MIC:1 MIC, 1 MIC:2 MIC and 2 MIC:1 MIC) were applied. Generally, essential oils used in combinations influenced yeast's hydrophobic properties much more than applied separately. The essential oils' mixtures reduced hydrophobicity of Candida yeasts in the range of 8.2 to 45.1%, depending on combination and strain. The interaction indexes of essential oils used in combinations predominantly indicate their additive effect. The application of tea tree, thyme and clove essential oils, especially in combinations, decreases hydrophobicity of the tested Candida isolates with implications of a probable advantageous limitation of their ability to colonize the food production industry environment.

MeSH terms

  • Candida / drug effects*
  • Candida / physiology
  • Complex Mixtures
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Species Specificity


  • Complex Mixtures
  • Oils, Volatile