Candida yeasts are generally found in the vaginal microbiota; however, disruption of the balance maintained by host factors and microorganisms results in vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC). This study evaluated the antagonistic activity of vaginal Lactobacillus spp. on Candida albicans to verify whether active compounds of Lactobacillus spp. had antifungal and antivirulence activity. The antagonism assay showed that 15 out of 20 Lactobacillus strains had an inhibitory effect on C. albicans. Biosurfactants displayed surface-tension-reducing activity, with the best value obtained for Lactobacillus gasseri 1. Lactobacillus rhamnosus ATCC 9595, Lactobacillus acidophilus ATCC 4356, and Lactobacillus paracasei 11 produced biosurfactants that decreased C. albicans adhesion and disrupted biofilm formation. The best results were obtained in the pre-incubation assay for L. gasseri 1 and L. paracasei 11. Overall, Lactobacillus strains showed significant anti-Candida activity, and their biosurfactants exhibited considerable anti-adhesion and antibiofilm activity against C. albicans. To be considered safe for use in vivo, the safety of biosurfactant (BS) should be investigated using cytotoxicity assays.
Keywords: Candida albicans suppression; Lactobacillus antivirulence; Lactobacillus biosurfactant production; biofilm inhibition; vulvovaginal candidiasis.