The effects of the alkali metal ions (Li+, Na+ and K+) on the growth and on certain virulence factors (adhesion, cell-surface hydrophobicity and germinating ability) of Candida albicans were determined. High concentrations of these ions displayed an inhibitory effect on the growth of the Candida cells; preincubation in their presence showed a negative effect on all virulence factors studied. The changes induced during the preincubation remained there even when high concentration of the ions was removed from the cell suspension. In contrast, a considerable growth was found at high Na+ and K+ concentrations. Although alkali metal ions significantly decreased certain virulence traits of the fungus they did not totally inhibit adhesion and germ-tube formation. This suggests that C. albicans may represent a health hazard even at a high salt concentration.
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