Anti-Candida activity of geraniol involves disruption of cell membrane integrity and function.
J Mycol Med. 2016 Sep ;26(3):244-54. Epub 2016 Aug 20. PMID: 27554866
Candidiasis is a major problem in immunocompromised patients. Candida, an opportunistic fungal pathogen, is a major health concern today as conventional drugs are highly toxic with undesirable side effects. Their fungistatic nature is responsible for drug resistance in continuously evolving strains. Geraniol, an acyclic monoterpene alcohol, is a component of several plant essential oils. In the present study, an attempt has been made to understand the antifungal activity of geraniol at the cell membrane level in three Candida species. With an MIC of 30-130μg/mL, this natural compound was fungicidal at concentrations 2×MIC. There was complete suppression of fungal growth at MIC values (growth curves) and encouragingly geraniol is non-toxic even at the concentrations approaching 5×MIC (hemolysis assay). Exposed cells showed altered morphology, wherein the cells appeared either broken or shrivelled up (SEM studies). Significant reduction was seen in ergosterol levels at sub-MIC and glucose-induced H(+) efflux at concentrations>MIC values. Our results suggest that geraniol disrupts cell membrane integrity by interfering with ergosterol biosynthesis and inhibiting the very crucial PM-ATPase. It may hence be used in the management and treatment of both superficial and invasive candidiasis but further studies are required to elaborate its mode of action.