Antifungal and synergistic activities of some selected essential oils on the growth of significant indoor fungi of the genus Aspergillus

J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 2021;56(12):1335-1346. doi: 10.1080/10934529.2021.1994801. Epub 2021 Oct 27.


The study aimed to assess the antifungal activity of twenty-five essential oils (EOs) and the potential synergistic activity of the most effective EOs against significant indoor fungi of the genus Aspergillus [A. fumigatus (KBio-122), A. flavus (KBio-134), A. terreus (KBio-145) and A. niger (KBio-202)]. The chemical composition of all EOs was evaluated by the gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and gas chromatography with flame ionization detector (GC-FID) analysis. The antifungal susceptibility of EOs was evaluated by using the broth microdilution method. The most effective EOs were selected to determine the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and minimum fungicidal concentrations (MFCs) at a concentration range from 256 to 0.125 μg/mL. For the synergistic activities, the most effective EOs were tested using the chessboard pattern. The most sensitive strain to treatments with essential oils alone and in the combination of EOs was A. flavus (KBio-134). The chessboard assay showed that combinations of lemongrass and thyme EOs proved the most potent synergistic antifungal activity (FICI = 0.1875) against A. fumigatus (KBio-122). The synergy displayed by a combination of some EOs may be used to control fungal growth or increasing resistance to available synthetic antifungals, consequently permitting the reduction of their most active doses.

Keywords: Antifungal activity; Aspergillus; essential oils; in vitro; synergism.

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Aspergillus
  • Fungi
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Oils, Volatile* / pharmacology


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Oils, Volatile