Universidad de Alicante

Innovative and efficient antifungal composition for pharmacological (human &veterinary treatment), phytosanitary and cleaning (detergents) applications

Posted by Universidad de AlicanteResponsive · Innovative Products and Technologies · Spain

Summary of the technology

This technology aims to help controlling resistant strains of important filamentous fungi and yeast fungi (e.g. Candida spp.) originated after prolonged treatment with currently used antifungals.

The present invention provides for these purposes:

a) The use of novel antifungals (COS and chitosan).
b) The combined use (synergical) with existing antifungals (e.g. fluconazole) to reduce their doses.
c) The use of COS and chitosan (alone or in combination with existing synergical antifungals) with an inhibitor of ARL1 gene to increase the sensitivity of fungi (including yeast) or their chitosan oligosaccharides (COS).

Several experiments carried out have shown the significant synergistic effect of the combination object of the present invention (chitosan or COS, and an inhibitor of ARL1 gene or a currently used antifungal such as fluconazole) in inhibiting growth of filamentous fungi and yeast.

Chitosan and COS are non-toxic for mammals, and therefore, they have a particular interest to use them as antifungal agents in some applications.

Description of the technology

The Plant Pathology research group of the University of Alicante has developed an antifungal composition based on the combined use of chitosan, or chitosan oligosaccharides together with inhibitors capable to modify gene expression of specific molecular targets to enhance sensitivity of eukaryotic cells to the effects of the chitosan or its oligosaccharides. This composition is harmless to humans/animals and effectively inhibits growth of many fungal species, including pathogens. The main applications of this technology are: Pharmacology and Agriculture, but it is also applicable in other sectors (as detergent for cleaning different surfaces, in the food industry, for example, to coat foods in order to avoid microbial contamination, ...). The research group is looking for companies acquiring this invention for licensing agreement or technical cooperation.


Chitin is the second most abundant natural polymer after cellulose. It is an abundant natural polymer found, among others (e.g. in crustacean’s shells), making it an important by-product in fishing industry. On the other hand, chitosan is an N-glucosamine polymer obtained by partial N-deacetylation of chitin. Scientific studies have shown that chitosan exerts its antifungal action to several fungi through multiple mechanisms, including: • Hyphal growth inhibition; • Spore germination inhibition; • Reduction of toxin production; • Plasma membrane permeabilisation. Acid hydrolysis or enzymatic cleavage of chitosan generates chitosan oligosaccharides (hereinafter, COS). Biological activity of chitosan depends on its molecular weight, degree of deacetylation and pH. COS are water soluble (unlike chitosan) and have a smaller molecular size than chitosan. However, both chitosan and COS act by destabilizing and/or permeabilizing plasma membranes of bacteria, yeast and filamentous fungi. Both COS and chitosan are non-toxic to mammals, and therefore, they are particularly interesting as antifungal agents in several applications. Fungal pathogens have developed resistance to most currently antifungal used due to prolonged treatments in both pharmacological and phytosanitary applications. In view of the application of COS and chitosan as antifungal (alone or in combination with existing ones), it has been identified COS molecular targets. Their inhibition will improve the antifungal activity of COS and chitosan by enhancing the growth inhibition or death of fungal cells (yeast and filamentous fungi), their main target organisms.

Main advantages of its use

  • Also it can be as sustained release formulations (e.g., nanoparticles, liposomes, nanospheres, polymeric materials in biodegradable or non-biodegradable implants, or in biodegradable microparticles, etc.). This preparation can be used separately, sequentially or simultaneously.
  • As ARL1 gene inhibitor is meant any molecule that binds to the gene, or its transcription factors, or any of their expression products, and inhibits or reduces the expression and / or activity of the factor that binds to and / or its intracellular signaling. This inhibitor is selected from the following list:• RNA silencing;• ARL1 specific- protein antibody (preferably monoclonal);• GTP-GAMMA-S inhibitor;• MLS000532223 GTPase inhibitor;• AMF-26 GTPase inhibitor;• Other antagonists.
  • Following extensive high-throughput chemogenomic assays (haploinsufficiency, homozygous and multicopy suppression profiling, and transcriptome analysis), ARL1 gene was identified as the main target of COS in yeast. ARL1 encodes a GTPase involved in plasma-membrane traffic, which could be a chitosan sensor. The present invention proposes the use of an inhibitor ARL1 gene to increase sensitivity of filamentous fungi and yeast cells to chitosan.
  • The present composition relates to its use as antifungal, both to inhibit the growth of the fungus (fungistatic action) and to cause fungus death (fungicide action).
  • This composition (chitosan or COS, and an inhibitor ARL1 gene) can be used for pharmaceutical purposes in therapeutically effective amounts to prevent or to treat fungal infections, without causing adverse effects.
  • This composition (chitosan or COS, and an inhibitor of ARL1 gene) is used to block growth of filamentous fungi and yeast through oxidative stress and cell death.
  • This invention also relates to the use of the composition in combination with at least one of the currently used antifungal compounds selected, among others, from the following list:• Amphotericin B;• Terbinafine;• Fluconazole;• Fluoropyrimidine analogs;• Echinocandin analogues.
  • This pharmaceutical composition can be prepared in solid form (tablets, pills, capsules, granules, etc.) or liquid (solutions, suspensions or emulsions) composition of administration: parenteral, intraperitoneal, intravenous, intradermal, epidural, intraspinal, intrastromal, intraarticular, intrasynovial, intrathecal, intralesional, intraarterial, intracardiac, intramuscular, intranasal, intracranial, subcutaneous, intraorbital, intracapsular, topical, by transdermal patches, vaginally, rectally, by administering a suppository, percutaneous, nasal spray, surgical implant, internal surgical paint infusion pump and catheter, etc.


  • As detergent (for cleaning different surfaces).
  • Human use or veterinary treatment and/or prevention of fungal infections by pathogenic fungi, such as Candida spp., Botrytis cinerea, Fusarium oxysporum, Aspergillus fumigatus, Cryptococcus spp., Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Zygosaccharomyces bailii , Trichosporon spp., Malassezia spp., Scedosporium spp., etc.
  • In agriculture (phytosanitary treatments, preferably in infections caused by Botrytis cinerea and Fusarium oxysporum), but also in other pathogens in pre- and post-harvest plant diseases.
  • In the food industry (for example, to coat foods in order to avoid microbial contamination).
  • In the textile industry.
  • Pharmaceutical: medicinal use (drugs).

Additional information (attached documents)

Additional information (attached documents)

Related keywords

  • Pharmaceutical Products / Drugs
  • Agricultural chemicals
  • Plant health
  • Animal health
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Animal Husbandry and Related Products
  • Textiles (synthetic and natural)
  • antifungal composition
  • antifungal agents
  • pharmacological applications
  • phytosanitary applications
  • cleaning applications
  • Fungal pathogens

About Universidad de Alicante

Research & Technology Organization from Spain

As one of the largest universities of Spain, Universidad de Alicante has a rich history of innovation. Our main objective is to transfer the technology that our research teams are developing to the industries and companies which are able to take profit from them. R & D & Innovation results and know-how are offered in the domains of Chemistry, Materials, Environment, IT, Building and other applied subjects.

Send your request

By clicking "Send your request" you are signing up and accepting our Terms of Service and Privacy policy

Technology Offers on Innoget are directly posted and managed by its members as well as evaluation of requests for information. Innoget is the trusted open innovation and science network aimed at directly connect industry needs with professionals online.