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Eiko MAEKAWA, Lilian; LAMPING, Roberta; MARCACCI, Sidnei; Yasunori MAEKAWA,
Marcos; Giazzi NASSRI, Maria Renata; Yumi KOGA-ITO, Cristiane
Antimicrobial activity of chlorophyll-based solution on Candida albicans and
RSBO. Revista Sul-Brasileira de Odontologia, vol. 4, núm. 2, 2007, pp. 36-40
Universidade da Região de Joinville
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RSBO. Revista Sul-Brasileira de Odontologia
ISSN (Versión impresa): 1806-7727
Universidade da Região de Joinville
Proyecto académico sin fines de lucro, desarrollado bajo la iniciativa de acceso abierto
Antimicrobial activity of chlorophyll-based solution
on Candida albicans and Enterococcus faecalis
Atividade antimicrobiana da solução de clorofila
sobre Candida albicans e Enterococcus faecalis
Lilian Eiko MAEKAWA*
Marcos Yasunori MAEKAWA***
Maria Renata Giazzi NASSRI****
Cristiane Yumi KOGA-ITO*****
Lílian Eiko Maekawa
Rua Evolução, 692 – Vila Brasilina
São Paulo – SP – CEP 04163-001
* Post-Graduated Student – Master Restorative Dentistry Program-Dental Endodontics Especiality – School of Dentistry of São José dos
Campos – UNESP .
*** Phd, Professor – Assistant Professor, Department of Dental Material and Prosthodontics – School of Dentistry of São José dos
Campos – UNESP .
**** Phd, Professor – Assistant Professor, discipline of Endodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Mogi das Cruzes.
***** Phd, Professor – Assistant Professor, department of Oral Bioscience and Diagnosis, School of Dentistry of São José dos Campos – UNESP .
Recebido em 22/8/07. Aceito em 17/10/07.
Chlorophyll is a phytotherapic substance that presents curing
properties, however it is rarely used in Dentistry. Objective
the antimicrobial activity of a chlorophyll-based solution on isolates
of Candida albicans and Enterococcus faecalis by agar dilution method.
Material and Methods Material and Methods
Material and MethodsMaterial and Methods
Material and Methods: oral isolates and Candida albicans reference
strain (ATCC 18804) and Enterococcus faecalis (ATCC 29212) were
included in the study. Chlorophyll extract was diluted in Sabouraud
dextrose or brain heart infusion (BHI) agar, according to the testing
microorganism and poured in Petri plates, obtaining the final
concentrations of 50%, 25%, 12.5%, 6%, 3% and 1.5%. C. albicans
and E. faecalis strains were plated with the aid of a Steers’ inoculator.
Plates were incubated at 37°C for 48 h for C. albicans and at 5% CO2
for E. faecalis. The experiments were performed in duplicate. Results:
Objective: to analyze
Artigo Original de Pesquisa
RSBO v. 4, n. 2, 2007 – 37
the results showed that the concentrations 50% and 25% chlorophyll
extract were effective against C. albicans. E. faecalis grew in the
presence of all the concentrations. Conclusion:
solution presents effective antimicrobial activity of C. albicans but did
not present any activity on E. faecalis.
A clorofila é uma substância fitoterápica que possui propriedades
curativas, apesar de ainda ser pouco utilizada na odontologia. O
presente trabalho objetivou analisar a atividade antimicrobiana do
extrato de clorofila sobre amostras de Candida albicans e
Enterococcus faecalis, utilizando o método de diluição em ágar.
Foram incluídos no estudo isolados bucais e amostra-padrão de
Candida albicans (ATTC 18804) e Enterococcus faecalis (ATCC
29212). O extrato de clorofila foi diluído em ágar Sabouraud ou
Triptic soy, de acordo com o microrganismo a ser testado, e vertido
em placas de Petri, obtendo concentrações finais de 50%, 25%, 12,5%,
6%, 3% e 1,5%. As amostras de Candida albicans e Enterococcus
faecalis foram semeadas nas placas com auxílio de replicador de
Steers. Em seguida, as placas de Petri com C. albicans foram
incubadas a 37°C por 48 horas; para as de E. faecalis procedeu-se
do mesmo modo, em 5% de CO2. Os experimentos foram realizados
em duplicata. Os resultados mostraram que as concentrações de
50% e 25% do extrato de clorofila foram efetivas nas amostras de
Candida albicans, entretanto nas concentrações de 12,5%, 6%, 3% e
1,5% observou-se crescimento. Enterococcus faecalis desenvolveu-
se em todas as concentrações. Foi possível concluir que o extrato de
clorofila, diluído em até 25%, tem efetiva ação antimicrobiana sobre
Candida albicans, não apresentando atividade sobre Enterococcus
faecalis nas concentrações testadas.
The aim of chemical and surgical preparation
is to clean and to disinfect the root canal, aiming to
maintain the conditions obtained by the use of
irrigation solutions. Also, intracanal medicaments
and obturing pastes are important to difficult the
metabolic changes between the oral milieu, root canal
and support tissue, blocking the recontamination
by the microorganisms presents in the oral
microbiota, that is related to treatment failures.
Endodontic infections are considered
polimicrobial and more than 150 bacterial species
are usually found in combinations of 3 to 6 species
in each canal . Also, microorganisms such as
yeasts may be commonly found in root canals with
pulp necrosis [6, 12].
Najzar-Fleger et al. (1992) , studying the
prevalence of Candida genus in different sites of the
oral cavity, verified that 55% of the root canals
presented these microorganisms. Maekawa et al.
(2006)  analyzed the microbiota from the root
canals of teeth with pulp necrosis and showed that
in 15.3% of the cases Candida albicans was
identified. Enterococcus faecalis is also frequently
isolated from root canals in cases of pulp infection
and also recalcitrant infections after endodontic
treatment [22, 8].
Waltimo et al. (2000)  studied the penetration
of Candida albicans in dentine compared with
Enterococcus faecalis through an in vitro model in
human dentine. An effective and deep penetration was
observed in the specimens infected with E. faecalis.
The authors concluded that, although C. albicans
penetration is possible, that is less significant in
relation to the penetration ability of E. faecalis.
Rodrigues (2001)  related that enteric
bacteria, mainly E. faecalis, and yeasts, in particular
of the Candida genus, are commonly isolated from
recalcitrant endodontic infections. This microbiota
may characterize monoinfection, with the
predominance of Gram-positive microorganisms
Maekawa et al.
Antimicrobial activity of chlorophyll-based solution on Candida albicans and Enterococcus faecalis
particularly facultative anaerobes. These are more
resistant to antimicrobial procedures performed
during the endodontic treatment and can establish
themselves without other microorganisms.
Several studies have been developed about the
antimicrobial activity of irrigation solutions in
Endodontics. Due to several properties, such as
ability to solve organic material and neutralize toxic
content, sodium hypochlorite is the most frequently
employed substance during the instrumentation and
irrigation of root canals. It is commercially available
at the concentrations of 0.5%, 1%, 2.5% and 5.25%
[23, 11, 10, 2, 14, 4, 21, 20]. Cardoso (2003) ,
studying the dentinal permeability of the cervical,
medium and apical thirds of the root canals after
the rotatoty instrumentation with different auxiliary
chemical substances, concluded that the use of
Endo-PTC associated to Dakin’s solution increased
the dentinal permeability when compared with EDTA
17% and chlorhexidine 2%. Despite of its advantages,
the use of high sodium hypochlorite concentrations
may cause injuries in periapical tissues [7, 21], and
alternative solutions have been proposed aiming the
association between antimicrobial effectiveness and
Chlorhexidine 2% is also largely employed. Many
studies proved its effectiveness on several
microorganisms such as Fusobacterium nucleatum,
Prevotella nigrescens, Staphylococcus aureus, and
E. faecalis [23, 10, 3].
Chlorophyll is a phytotherapic substance that
presents curing properties but is scarcely known and
studied in Dentistry. Santiago et al. (2002) ,
testing chlorophyll solutions, concluded that it might
increase the dentinal permeability, an important
characteristics in the endodontic therapy. Guillén-
Burgos et al. (2004)  evaluated the cytotoxicity of
chlorophyll extract and verified that it can be well
tolerated in cell culture by fibroblasts of periodontal
ligament, in short and long experimental periods.
Saeki et al. (1993)  evaluated the
antimicrobial effects of the green tea, chlorophyll and
sodium copper chlorophyll on oral bacteria and
concluded that all the tested substances were effective
but each of them presented different specificities.
Chlorophyll inhibited the growth of the tested oral
bacteria, particularly Porphyromonas gingivalis and
Fusobacterium nucleatum. Copper chlorophyll did
not pesent inhibitory activity on those bacteria.
Perin (2001)  tested a lyophilized
phytotherapic solution obtained from the extract of
Arctium lappa as an auxiliary substance for the canal
preparation and concluded that the tested
substances were effective against C. albicans but did
not present any effect on E. faecalis, Pseudomonas
aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. The
phytotherapy substance presented antifungal activity
against C. albicans, while that other cepas had
In Endodontics, chlorophyll can be indicated as
an auxiliary antimicrobial solution to assist in the
chemical and surgical preparation and to increase
the permeability of the dental tubules. Knowing the
importance of the removal of the smear layer,
originated during the instrumentation due to the
action of the instruments cut and being able still to
be contaminated, it seems interesting to use a
solution provided with antimicrobial effect in the
removal of smear layer.
Based on the findings from the literature and the
lack of data regarding the chlorophyll and its uses in
Dentistry, the present study aimed to evaluate in vitro
the antimicrobial activity of chlorophyll-based solution
on Candida albicans and Enterococcus faecalis.
Material and methods
The solution tested in this study was composed
by sodium copper chlorophyllin (Ervas Vida, Vitória-
ES, Brazil). Thirty-two oral isolates and reference
strain (ATCC 18804) of C. albicans and E. faecalis
ATCC 29212 were included in the study.
Firsty, the isolates were plated on Sabouraud
dextrose agar (Difco, Detroit, USA) or brain heart
infusion agar (BHI, Difco, Detroit, USA) and incubated
at 37°C for 24 hours, and 37°C/48h/5% CO2 for E.
faecalis. Then, standardized cell suspension
containing 106 cells per milliliter was turbidimetrically
obtained in sterile saline solution (NaCl 0.85%).
Plates containing serial dilutions (50%-1.5%)
of the testing solution in Sabouraud dextrose agar
(for C. albicans tests) and BHI agar (for E. faecalis)
Isolates were plated on each plate with the aid
of a Steers’ inoculator (Figure 1). Then, plates were
incubated at 37°C for 48 hours (C. albicans) and
37°C/48h/5% CO2 for E. faecalis. All the experiments
were performed in duplicate. After the incubation
period, readings were based on the growth of the
isolates in the presence of the dilutions tested.
Aiming at characterizing the chlorophyll-based
solution tested, it was submitted to pH measurement
(CG710, Schott Mainz, Switzerland).
The concentrations of 50 and 25% of the tested
chlorophyll-based solution tested inhibited the
growth of C. albicans isolates. The concentrations
RSBO v. 4, n. 2, 2007 – 39
of 1.5% to 12.5% did not show any antifungal activity.
No acitivity was observed on E. faecalis. The pH of
the tested solution was of 5.4.
Several studies on the antimicrobial activity of
irrigation solutions in Endodontics, such as 0.5%,
1%, 2.5% and 5% sodium hypochlorite and 2%
chlorexidine are found in the literature [23, 14, 4,
21]. On the other hand, the lack of studies on
phytotherapic substances such as chlorophyll,
propolis and castor bean detergent do not permit
more objective conclusions about their use [14, 3].
The inclusion of C. albicans and E. faecalis in
this study was based on the literature that relates
these microorganisms to pulp infections, mainly in
recalcitrant infections after endodontic treatment
[13, 22, 6, 24, 15, 9, 8].
Chlorophyll is cited as a phytotherapic substance
provided of several benefits to our organism such as
the prevention of anemia, detoxifying effect and
improvement of blood circulation (Ervas Vida, Vitória-
ES, Brazil). Considering these benefits already studied
in the medical area, the interest on chlorophyll is now
spreading to Dentisty. However, few studies are still
found in the literature.
The interest on this substance is based on these
already described properties. Moreover, relates on
an increased dentinal permeability stimulated the
study of this substance. The increase in the
permeability of the dentinal canals may be
considered a very interesting characteristic and it is
related to better cleaning activity and adaptation of
the obturing material.
Santiago et al. (2002)  observed in vitro an
increase in the permeability of dentinal canals when
compared chlorophyll with Clorox and Dakin’
solution and it was indicated to be used during the
chemical-surgical preparation of root canal.
Also, Guillén-Burgos et al. (2004) , in
experiments of biocompatibility with chlorophyll,
concluded that this extract is biocompatible in
human periodontal lligament fibroblast culture at
short and long periods.
The methodology of this study followed the
standard established for agar dilution tests . This
method permits more objective growth control and
the use of Steer’s replicator makes the testing of
several samples possible at the same time.
The results obtained in this study showed that
the chlorophyll-based tested solution was effective
against C. albicans at the concentration of 25%,
however no activity was observed against E. faecalis.
Considering that C. albicans is a common
microorganism in pulp infections, this study suggests
that in certain concentrations, chlorophyll might be
indicated as a good choice as irrigation solution. On
the other hand, the results obtained for Enterococcus
faecalis were not so promising. Bacterial growth was
observed in all the concentrations, however more
studies on this subject are necessary.
Another fact to be considered is the value of pH,
since it is related in the literature that an alkaline
permits a better infection control interfering on
microbial growth and survival . The pH observed
for chlorophyll was 5.6 that is contrary to this
affirmative. On the other hand, this result corroborates
the study of Guillén-Burgos et al. (2004) , which
states that this pH value shows that chlorophyll has
low damage potential for periapical tissues when
compared to 0.5% sodium hypochlorite (pH 11.8), 24%
EDTA (pH 7.2) and 15% EDTA (pH 7.4).
Considering the results obtained and the
characteristics cited before, the data suggest that
chlorophyll extract may have a clinical applicability
as irrigation solution of the root canal if used in
concentrations that might compensate its low
antimicrobial potential and might preserve the good
cell tolerance and capacity of permeate the dentinal
canals. More studies for searching this formulation
The chlorophyll-based tested solution presented
antifungal activity against C. albicans at the
concentration of 25%. No activity on E. faecalis was
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