The folk wisdom that eating garlic fights illness is ancient. In modern times, fruit and vegetable extracts that can inhibit the growth of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms are actually being evaluated as food preservatives, because consumers are demanding fewer synthetic chemical food preservatives.
Now, a team led by researchers from Washington State University,
has found, contrary to expectations, that a group of garlic-derived organo-sulfur compounds has greater antimicrobial activity than garlic-derived phenolic compounds.
The research is published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
The researchers found that diallyl sulfides contribute more to antimicrobial activity of garlic extract than do phenolic compounds, reporting “We used biophysical techniques, namely infrared and Raman spectroscopy, to demonstrate that diallyl sulfide can freely penetrate bacterial membranes and combine with sulfur containing proteins and enzymes, which is the major antimicrobial mechanism of these organo sulfur compounds.”
“This is the first time researchers have combined infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy, which are complementary techniques, to study the mechanisms of bacterial injury and inactivation,” they said.
“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 organo sulfur compounds have the potential to be used as antimicrobial agents.”
The target microbe in this study- Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni) is believed to be the most prevalent cause of bacterial food-borne illness in the world, causing abdominal cramps, fever, and diarrhea. There are no previous reported studies investigating the ability of allium species, including garlic, to control the growth of C. jejuni.
The history of using garlic to fight disease goes back several thousand years. “In ancient society,” say the researchers “people used garlic to cure diseases; however, they did not know why it worked.” Now we are finding out.
Story Source: American Society for Microbiology
Journal Reference: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2011
“Investigating Antibacterial Effects of Garlic (Allium sativum) Concentrate and Garlic-Derived Organosulfur Compounds on Campylobacter jejuni by Using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Raman Spectroscopy, and Electron Microscopy”
This article is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact your doctor or healthcare professional for medical and nutritional consultation.