Microemulsions are physically stable oil/water clear dispersions, spontaneously formed and thermodynamically stable. They are composed in most cases of water, oil, surfactant and cosurfactant. Microemulsions are stable, self-preserving antimicrobial agents in their own right. The observed levels of antimicrobial activity associated with microemulsions may be due to the direct effect of the microemulsions themselves on the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane. The aim of this work is to study the growth behaviour of different microbes in presence of certain prepared physically stable microemulsion formulae over extended periods of time. An experiment was designed to study the kinetics of killing of a microemulsion preparation (17.3% Tween-80, 8.5% n-pentanol, 5% isopropyl myristate and 69.2% sterile distilled water) against selected test microorganisms (Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger, Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Rhodotorula spp.). Secondly, an experiment was designed to study the effects of the microemulsion preparation on the cytoplasmic membrane structure and function of selected fungal species by observation of 260 nm component leakage. Finally, the effects of the microemulsion on the fungal membrane structure and function using S. pombe were studied using transmission electron microscopy. The results showed that the prepared microemulsions are stable, effective antimicrobial systems with effective killing rates against C. albicans, A. niger, S. pombe and Rhodotorula spp. The results indicate a proposed mechanism of action of significant anti-membrane activity, resulting in the gross disturbance and dysfunction of the cytoplasmic membrane structure which is followed by cell wall modifications, cytoplasmic coagulation, disruption of intracellular metabolism and cell death.
Al-Adham, I. S. I., Ashour, H., Al-Kaissi, E., Khalil, E., Kierans, M., & Collier, P. J. (2013). Studies on the kinetics of killing and the proposed mechanism of action of microemulsions against fungi. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 454(1), 226-232. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2013.06.049