Garlic Compound 100 Times More Effective Than Antibiotics Fighting Food Borne Illness

Garlic compound 100 times more effective than antibiotics at fighting food borne illness

Garlic compound 100 times more effective than antibiotics at fighting food borne illness

Friday, May 4, 2012. An article published online on May 1, 2012 in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy reveals a potent effect for garlic against the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni, a leading cause of intestinal illness caused by eating undercooked poultry or foods that have been contaminated during poultry preparation. "Campylobacter is simply the most common bacterial cause of food-borne illness in the United States and probably the world," explained coauthor Michael Konkel of Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

The researchers compared the effects of diallyl sulfide, a compound that occurs in garlic, and the antibiotics ciprofloxacin and erythromycin on biofilms formed by Campylobacter jejuni. Biofilms are colonies of bacteria protected by a film that renders them a thousand times more resistant to antibiotics than free cells. Cell death following the administration of diallyl sulfide occurred at a concentration of resveratrol that was 100-fold less than that which was effective for either antibiotic, and often took less time to work. The team found that diallyl sulfide combined with a sulfur-containing enzyme, which altered the cells' function and metabolism.

"This work is very exciting to me because it shows that this compound has the potential to reduce disease-causing bacteria in the environment and in our food supply," stated lead author and postdoctoral researcher Xiaonan Lu, PhD.

"This is the first step in developing or thinking about new intervention strategies," added Dr Konkel. "Diallyl sulfide may be useful in reducing the levels of the Campylobacter in the environment and to clean industrial food processing equipment, as the bacterium is found in a biofilm in both settings."

"Diallyl sulfide could make many foods safer to eat", noted Barbara Rasco, another co-author of the report. "It can be used to clean food preparation surfaces and as a preservative in packaged foods like potato and pasta salads, coleslaw and deli meats. This would not only extend shelf life but it would also reduce the growth of potentially bad bacteria."

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Garlic compound shows promise in cardiac conditions

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The American Heart Association Scientific Sessions conference held in Orlando was the site of a presentation on November 16 of the findings of researchers at Emory University School of Medicine of an ability for diallyl trisulfide, a compound in garlic, to deliver hydrogen sulfide to the heart. Hydrogen sulfide gas protects the heart from damage in low doses, yet has been difficult to use as a treatment due to its unstable and volatile nature.

Emory University School of Medicine Professor David Lefer, along with postdoctoral fellow Benjamin Predmore, simulated heart attacks in mice by blocking their coronary arteries for forty-five minutes. Prior to the restoration of blood flow, the animals received diallyl trisulfide or an inert substance. When the animals' hearts were examined 24 hours later, the proportion of damaged tissue in the area at risk was reduced by 61 percent in mice that received diallyl trisulfide compared to the other mice. The researchers believe that diallyl trisulfide could be useful in situations in which hydrogen sulfide may be beneficial.

"Interruption of oxygen and blood flow damages mitochondria, and loss of mitochondrial integrity can lead to cell death," Dr Predmore explained. "We see that diallyl sulfide can temporarily turn down the function of mitochondria, preserving them and lowering the production of reactive oxygen species."

In other research conducted by team member Kazuhisa Kondo, diallyl sulfide administered twice daily reduced enlargement of the heart in a mouse model of heart failure.

"We are now performing studies with orally active drugs that release hydrogen sulfide," noted Dr Lefer, who also directs the Cardiothoracic Surgery Research Laboratory at Emory University Hospital. "This could avoid the need to inject sulfide-delivery drugs outside of an emergency situation."

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