Antifungal activity and mechanism of action of natural product derivates as potential environmental disinfectants

Norma Patricia Silva-Beltrán, Stephanie A. Boon, M. Khalid Ijaz, Julie McKinney, Charles P. Gerba*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


There have been a considerable number of antifungal studies that evaluated natural products (NPs), such as medicinal plants and their secondary metabolites, (phenolic compounds, alkaloids), essential oils, and propolis extracts. These studies have in- vestigated natural antifungal substances for use as food preservatives, medicinal agents, or in agriculture as green pesticides because they represent an option of safe, low-impact, and environmentally friendly antifungal compounds; however, few have studied these NPs as an alternative to disinfection/sanitation for indoor air or environmental surfaces. This review summarizes recent studies on NPs as potential fungal disinfectants in different environments and provides information on the mechanisms of inactivation of these products by fungi. The explored mechanisms show that these NPs can interfere with ATP synthesis and Ca++ and K+ ion flow, mainly damaging the cell membrane and cell wall of fungi, respectively. Another mechanism is the reactive oxygen species effect that dam- ages mitochondria and membranes. Inhibition of the overexpression of the efflux pump is another mechanism that involves damage to fungal proteins. Many NPs appear to have potential as indoor environmental disinfectants.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberkuad036
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • Antifungal
  • Disinfection
  • Essential oils
  • Mechanisms of action
  • Natural products


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