Antimicrobial efficacy of medium chain fatty acids as root canal irrigants: An in vitro study

J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. Jul-Sep 2019;37(3):258-264. doi: 10.4103/JISPPD.JISPPD_63_19.


Background: Enterococcus faecalis and Candida albicans are the microbes that are most resistant to elimination by disinfecting agents and are the causative agents for reinfection of the root canal treated teeth. Medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which are the main components of coconut oil, are proven antimicrobial agents. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate their antimicrobial efficacy against E. faecalis and C. albicans.

Methodology: Ninety extracted single-rooted mandibular premolar teeth were decoronated, biomechanically prepared, autoclaved, and divided into three groups (n = 30): Group A (inoculated with E. faecalis), Group B (inoculated with C. albicans), and Group C (control group). Each group was again subdivided into three groups (n = 10) and irrigated with lauric acid (LA), decanoic acid (DA), and octanoic acid, respectively, for 5 min. Paper point samples were taken from canal walls and transferred into Brain Heart Infusion broth and potato dextrose broth and placed in an incubator at 37°C. The appearance of tubidity was checked at 24, 48, 72, and 96 h using direct contact test. The data were then statistically analyzed using the analysis of variance and Tukey honestly significant difference post hoc tests.

Results: Among the three MCFAs, LA showed the maximum inhibitory against E. faecalis at 24 h and the inhibitory activity decreased considerably at 48, 72, and 96 h. DA was the most effective against C. albicans with a maximum inhibition at 48 h. DA also showed significant substantivity at 72 and 96 h.

Conclusion: Within the limitations of this study, it can be concluded that MCFAs show promising antimicrobial efficacy against E. faecalis and C. albicans.

Keywords: Candida albicans; Enterococcus faecalis; medium chain fatty acids; root canal irrigants.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents*
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Dental Pulp Cavity
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • Fatty Acids
  • Root Canal Irrigants*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Fatty Acids
  • Root Canal Irrigants
  • Chlorhexidine