The vapor activity of oregano, perilla, tea tree, lavender, clove, and geranium oils against a Trichophyton mentagrophytes in a closed box


The vapor activity of six essential oils against a Trichophyton mentagrophytes was examined using a closed box. The antifungal activity was determined from colony size, which was correlated with the inoculum size. As judged from the minimum inhibitory dose and the minimum fungicidal dose determined after vapor exposure for 24 h, the vapor activity of the six essential oils was ranked in the following order: oregano > clove, perilla > geranium, lavender, tea tree. The vapors of oregano, perilla, tea tree, and lavender oils killed the mycelia by short exposure, for 3 h, but the vapors of clove and geranium oils were only active after overnight exposure. The vapor of oregano and other oils induced lysis of the mycelia. Morphological examination by scanning electron microscope (SEM) revealed that the cell membrane and cell wall were damaged in a dose- and time-dependent manner by the action of oregano vapor, causing rupture and peeling of the cell wall, with small bulges coming from the cell membrane. The vapor activity increased after 24 h, but mycelial accumulation of the active oil constituents was maximized around 15 h, and then decreased in parallel with the decrease of vapor concentration. This suggested that the active constituent accumulated on the fungal cells around 15 h caused irreversible damage, which eventually led to cellular death.

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Correspondence to Shigeharu Inouye.

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Inouye, S., Nishiyama, Y., Uchida, K. et al. The vapor activity of oregano, perilla, tea tree, lavender, clove, and geranium oils against a Trichophyton mentagrophytes in a closed box. J Infect Chemother 12, 349–354 (2006).

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Key words

  • Essential oil
  • Scanning electron microscope
  • Antifungal activity
  • Vapor activity
  • Trichophyton mentagrophytes