Medium-chain fatty acids released from polymeric electrospun patches inhibit Candida albicans growth and reduce biofilm viability

TOC Graphic

Katharina H. Clitherow, Tahani M Binaljadm, Jens Hansen, Sebastian G. Spain*, Paul V. Hatton and Craig Murdoch; ACS Biomater. Sci. Eng., 2020, 6, 4087-4095. [DOI] [PDF] open access logo


Oral candidiasis is a very common oral condition among susceptible individuals, with the main causative organism being the fungus Candida albicans. Current drug delivery systems to the oral mucosa are often ineffective due to short drug/tissue contact times, as well as increased prevalence of drug-resistant Candida strains. We evaluated the potency of saturated fatty acids as antifungal agents, and investigated their delivery by novel electrospun mucoadhesive oral patches, using agar disc diffusion and biofilm assays. Octanoic (C8) and nonanoic (C9) acids were the most effective at inhibiting C. albicans growth on disc diffusion assays, both in solution or when released from polycaprolactone (PCL) or polyvinylpyrrolidone/RS100 (PVP/RS100) electrospun patches. In contrast, dodecanoic acid (C12) displayed the most potent antifungal activity against C. albicans pre-existing biofilms in solution or when released by PCL or PVP/RS100 patches. Both free and patch-released saturated fatty acids displayed significant toxicity to wild type and azole-resistant strains of C. albicans. These data not only provide evidence that certain saturated fatty acids have the potential to be used as antifungal agents, but also demonstrate that this therapy could be delivered directly to Candida-infected sites using electrospun mucoadhesive patches, demonstrating a potential new therapeutic approach to treat oral thrush.