Lemon peel essential oil and Candida Albicans

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Illustration by dokter sehat com

Oral candidiasis is an infectious disease in the oral cavity caused by the fungus Candida albicans. This fungus is one of the normal flora in the oral cavity. In certain conditions, such as decreased immune system, Candida albicans can cause an infection in the oral cavity. Therapy using antifungal drugs has side effects such as resistance (bacterial immunity to drugs) and drug toxicity so other alternative therapies are needed.

Lemon has been widely consumed by Indonesians, because it is a source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Lemon peels can be processed into essential oils. The antifungal activity of lemon peel is obtained from the content of limonene and pinene compounds. These compounds affect the activity of Candida albicans bacteria, causing an imbalance in cell metabolism, inhibiting growth and causing cell death.

The research team from Department of Oral Medicine, Faculty of Dental Medicine, Universitas Airlangga, conducted a research using essential oil from lemon peel with several concentrations against Candida albicans. The results showed a decrease in the concentration of lemon peel essential oil caused an increase in the growth of Candida albicans.

Lemon peel essential oil with a concentration of 0.78% is the lowest concentration that can inhibit the growth of Candida albicans, while a concentration of 1.56% is the lowest concentration that can kill Candida albicans. Lemon peel essential oil can inhibit the growth of Candida albicans due to the active compound that acts as an antifungal. Limonene, has a strong effect on Candida albicans by inhibiting its growth synthesis. Furthermore, limonene also changes the structure of the pectin in the cell wall of Candida albicans so it interferes its ability to adhere to the epithelium of the oral cavity.

The antifungal effect of lemon peel essential oil is also influenced by its citral and linalool content. Citral affects cell structure, inhibits cell development, and interferes with cellular respiration. Linalool can inhibit the production of enzymes that protect cell membranes. From the results of this preliminary study, it can be concluded that essential oil from lemon peel can be used as a natural ingredient for oral therapy for candidiasis caused by Candida albicans.

Author: Fatma Yasmin Mahdani, drg., M.Kes.

Details of our research can be viewed on: FYMahdani, DSErnawati, AEParmadiati, B. Soebadi, D. Radithia, YAFauziahdan NTPriambodo. Effectiveness Of Citrus Limon Peel Essential Oil On Candida Albicans : In Vitro Study. Biochem. Cell. Arch. 2020; 20 (Supp 1): 2957-2961.


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