Letter | Published:

Mycolase, a new kind of systemic antimycotic


THERE is a shortage of antimycotic drugs1,2, especially those for the treatment of systemic fungal diseases. Patients on immunosuppressive therapy or cancer chemotherapy are particularly susceptible to opportunist fungal infections3, and histoplasmosis, blastomycosis and coccidioidomycosis are major health problems in some tropical countries4. For such infections, amphotericin B, 5-fluorocytosine, miconazole and clotrimazole are mainly used. The first of these drugs is nephrotoxic and the second often induces resistant strains of fungi5. Griseofulvin is given orally but is effective only for cutaneous infections6. A new approach, which we are investigating, is to attack the fungal cell wall by way of the glucans it contains. Preliminary results obtained with ‘mycolases’, mixtures of enzymes of fungal origin containing various carbohydrases, including chitinase and laminarinase are reported here. We found that, used in conjunction with normally ineffective antimycotic drugs, mycolases were successful against systemic fungal disease in mice.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Br. J. Ophthal. 60, 605–606 (1976).

  2. 2

    Bodey, G. P. S. Af. med. J. 52, 1009–1015 (1977).

  3. 3

    Mason, J. W., Stinson, E. B., Hunt, Sharon A., Schroeder, J. S. & Rider, A. K. Ann. intern. Med. 85, 69–72 (1976).

  4. 4

    Proc. 3rd int. Conf. Mycoses, Pan-American Health Association; Sci. Publ. 304 (1975).

  5. 5

    Block, E. R., Jennings, A. E. & Bennett, J. E. Antimicrob. Ag. Chemother. 3, 649–656 (1973).

  6. 6

    Gentles, J. C. Nature 182, 476–477 (1958).

  7. 7

    Bartnicki-Garcia, S. A. Rev. Microbiol. 22, 87–108 (1968).

  8. 8

    Aronson, J. M. in The Fungi Vol. I (eds Ainsworth, G. C. & Sussman, A. S.) 49–76 (Academic, New York, 1965).

  9. 9

    Hunsley, D. & Burnett, J. H. J. gen. Microbiol. 62, 203–218 (1970).

  10. 10

    Davies, D. A. L. Adv. Carbohyd. Chem. 15, 271–340 (1960).

  11. 11

    Peberdy, J. F., Buckley, C. E. & Gibson, R. K. in Proc. 3rd int. Symp. Yeast Protoplasts (eds Villanueva, J. R., Garcia-Acha, I., Gascon, S. & Uruburu, F.) 381 (Academic, London, 1973).

  12. 12

    Endo, A., Kakiki, K. & Misato, T. J. Bact. 104, 189–196 (1970).

  13. 13

    Miura, O. Tohoku J. exp. Med. 59, 403–409 (1954).

  14. 14

    Bartnicki-Garcia, S. & Lippman, E. J. gen. Microbiol. 42, 411–416 (1966).

  15. 15

    Gooday, G. W. J. gen. Microbiol. 99, 1–11 (1977).

  16. 16

    Peto, R. & Pike, M. C. Biometrics 29, 579–584 (1973).

  17. 17

    Gale, E. F., Johnson, A. M., Kerridge, D. & Koh, T. Y. J. gen. Microbiol. 87, 20–36 (1975).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.