Antifungal Activity of Sodium Bicarbonate Against Fungal Agents Causing Superficial Infections


Although sodium bicarbonate—NaHCO3 (SB) has many domestic and medical, traditional and empirical uses, only little scientific documentation of its activity is available. The aims of this study were to investigate the antifungal activity of SB on the three fungal groups (yeasts, dermatophytes and molds) responsible for human skin and nail infections. We first evaluated the in vitro antifungal activity of SB on 70 fungal strains isolated from skin and nail infections: 40 dermatophytes, 18 yeasts and 12 molds. A concentration of 10 g/L SB inhibited the growth of 80 % of all the fungal isolates tested on Sabouraud dextrose agar. The minimal inhibitory concentration 90 (MIC90) of SB measured on Sabouraud dextrose agar, Sabouraud dextrose broth and potato dextrose broth was 5 g/L for the yeasts, 20 g/L for the dermatophytes and 40 g/L for the molds. In a second step, we prospectively evaluated the ex vivo antifungal activity of SB on 24 infected (15 dermatophytes, 7 yeasts and 2 molds) clinical specimens (15 nails and 9 skin scrapings). The fungal growth was completely inhibited for 19 (79 %) specimens and reduced for 4 (17 %) specimens after 7 days of incubation on Sabouraud dextrose–chloramphenicol agar supplemented with 10 g/L of SB as compared to Sabouraud dextrose–chloramphenicol agar without SB. In conclusion, we documented the antifungal activity of SB on the most common agents of cutaneous fungal infection and onychomycosis, and we specified the effective concentrations for the different groups of pathogenic fungi. The mechanism of action of SB has yet to be explored.

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Correspondence to V. Letscher-Bru.

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Letscher-Bru, V., Obszynski, C.M., Samsoen, M. et al. Antifungal Activity of Sodium Bicarbonate Against Fungal Agents Causing Superficial Infections. Mycopathologia 175, 153–158 (2013).

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  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Dermatophytes
  • Yeasts
  • Molds
  • Onychomycosis
  • Cutaneous fungal infection