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Molecules 2012, 17(12), 14418-14433; doi:10.3390/molecules171214418

Antifungal Activity of Thymus vulgaris L. Essential Oil and Its Constituent Phytochemicals against Rhizopus oryzae: Interaction with Ergosterol

Laboratory of Mycology, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Federal University of Paraíba, João Pessoa, 58051-970, Brazil
Center of Education and Health, Federal University of Campina Grande, Cuité, 58175-000, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 October 2012 / Revised: 31 October 2012 / Accepted: 20 November 2012 / Published: 5 December 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Medicinal Chemistry of Antifungals)
Download PDF [236 KB, 18 June 2014; original version 18 June 2014]


Mucormycoses are emerging infections that have high rates of morbidity and mortality. They show high resistance to antifungal agents, and there is a limited therapeutic arsenal currently available, therefore, there is a great need to give priority to testing therapeutic agents for the treatment of mucormycosis. Along this line, the use of essential oils and phytoconstituents has been emphasized as a new therapeutic approach. The objective of this work was to investigate the antifungal activity of the essential oil (EO) of Thymus vulgaris, and its constituents thymol and p-cymene against Rhizopus oryzae, through microbiological screening, determination of minimal inhibitory concentration (MICs) and minimal fungicidal concentration (MFCs), effects on mycelial growth and germination of sporangiospores and interaction with ergosterol. The MIC of EO and thymol varied 128–512 µg/mL, but the MFC of EO and thymol varied 512–1024 µg/mL and 128–1024 µg/mL, respectively. The results also showed that EO and thymol significantly inhibited mycelial development and germination of sporangiospores. Investigation of the mechanism of antifungal action showed that EO and thymol interact with ergosterol. These data indicate that EO of T. vulgaris and thymol possess strong antifungal activity, which can be related to their interaction with ergosterol, supporting the possible use of these products in the treatment of mucormycosis.
Keywords: Thymus vulgaris; thymol; Rhizopus oryzae; antifungal activity; essential oils Thymus vulgaris; thymol; Rhizopus oryzae; antifungal activity; essential oils
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

de Lira Mota, K.S.; de Oliveira Pereira, F.; de Oliveira, W.A.; Lima, I.O.; de Oliveira Lima, E. Antifungal Activity of Thymus vulgaris L. Essential Oil and Its Constituent Phytochemicals against Rhizopus oryzae: Interaction with Ergosterol. Molecules 2012, 17, 14418-14433.

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