Health knowledge and news provided by doctors.

Garlic-derived organosulfur compounds destroy food bacteria

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers are investigating the antimicrobial properties of garlic. By using infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy, scientists were able to discover garlic-derived organosulfur compounds are more powerful that garlic-derived phenols.

In a new study, investigators looked at garlic for use as a food preservative, partially due to consumer demand for fewer chemicals in food.

In the study, published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, researchers found diallyl sulfide, a compound in garlic, can penetrate the membrane of bacteria where it combines with sulfur containing proteins and enzymes.

According to study coauthor Xiaonan Lu. "While previous studies have validated that volatile thiosulfinates, a group of intermediate, unstable and volatile bioactive sulfur-containing compounds, have antimicrobial activity against Helicobacter pylori, our result demonstrated that the garlic-derived organosulfur compounds have the potential to be used as antimicrobial agents."

Follow eMaxHealth on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Please, click to subscribe to our Youtube Channel to be notified about upcoming health and food tips.

For the study, researchers studied the effect of garlic compounds on the food-borne bacteria Campylobacter jejuni, which is the most prevalent form of ‘food poisoning’ worldwide.

"In ancient society," says Lu, "people used garlic to cure diseases; however, they did not know why it worked." Now we are finding out.

The finding clarifies the antimicrobial property of garlic, which comes from organosulfur compounds. The study is the first to show that garlic can curb the growth of the food-borne bacteria C. jejuni. The authors say garlic-derived compounds could be developed as antimicrobials.

X. Lu, B.A. Rasco, J.M.F. Jabal, D.E. Aston, M. Lin, and M.E. Konkel, 2011.
Investigating antibacterial effectxs of garlic (Allium sativum) concentrate and garlic-derived organosulfur compounds on Campylobacter jejuni by using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and electron microscopy.
Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 77:5257-5269

Image credit: morguefile