Morphological evidences for onion-induced growth inhibition of Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes


Volume 7-8 - Number

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The antifungal activity of onion (Allium cepa L.) on two important dermatophytes, Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes, with special reference to morphological aspects was studied. Growth of both fungi was found to be strongly inhibited by aqueous onion extract (AOE) as a dose-dependent manner. The extract showed fungicidal effect for both fungi at concentrations >3.12% (v/v). The fungus T mentagrophytes was more affected by the onion as compared to T rubrum at all concentrations used. Morphological effects of onion exposure were examined in correlation with fungal growth. Corresponding to the growth inhibition, light and electron microscopy observations revealed morphological anomalies in hyphal compartments. The results demonstrated that AOE targets the cell membrane of the fungi as breaking down of both inner and outer membranes with consequent extrution of materials into the surrounding medium. Cytoplasmic membranes and other membranous structures of organelles, such as nuclei and mitochondria, were also disrupted. In correlation to the fungal growth, morphological alterations occurred to a less content for T rubrum compared with T mentagrophytes. The hyphae of T rubrum were found to be mainly affected by converting to resistant forms, i.e., chlamidospores as a consequence of phenotype switching response to AOE. Plasmolysis accompanied by an almost complete depletion and disorganization of cytoplasmic structures were found to be the final event which led to cell death. Ultrastructural evidences obtained from this study strongly support that morphological changes of T rubrum and T mentagrophytes caused by AOE are associated with its fungistatic and fungicidal activities. With respect to the morphological results and the preliminary data on fungal biochemistry, a mechanism of action by interacting of AOE with thiol (-SH) groups present in essential compartments of the fungal cells was postulated. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved.