Garlic-derived compound eliminates bacteria

A garlic-derived compound could offer the food industry a quick and more effective antimicrobial tool in the fight against Campylobacter on poultry products, says a US study.

Washington State University (WSU) researchers examined the ability of diallyl sulphide to kill Campylobacter bacterium protected by biofilms.

The team of researchers also found that diallyl sulphide would work in a fraction of the time – completely inactivating the bacterium cells within five hours compared to the 24 hours taken by other antibiotics.

The compound was discovered to have been 100 times much effective than popular antibiotics such as erythromycin and ciprofloxacin in fighting Campylobacter.

WSY researcher Xiaonan Lu said that the findings could go on to new treatments being developed to combat the pathogen on the “major vehicle for Campylobacter” – poultry products.

Lu added: “This compound has been identified before to show an antimicrobial effect against some bacteria. But our study shows for the first time an antimicrobial effect against Campylobacter biofilm”.

When protected by a biofilm, Campylobacter bacterium is thousand times more resistant to the antibiotics.

Lu also said: “The garlic ingredient is 100 times more powerful than two commonly used antibiotics at fighting Campylobacter associated foodborne illnesses. It has the potential to be used as a food additive”.

According to Lu, the Campylobacter has the potential to extend the shelf life of poultry products, but “more studies are needed to continuously validate it”.

“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,” said Lu.

Even though Campylobacter is being researched upon at the moment, Lu said that it was possible that the research may extend to other foodborne pathogens.

Lu added: “Our two publications last year demonstrated that diallyl sulphide also shows antimicrobial effect against different foodborne pathogens, such as E.coli and Listeria monocytogenes”.

Campylobacter biofilms and planktonic cells were treated with antibiotics including ciprofloxacin, erythromycin as well as the garlic-derived compound diallyl suphide before investigation and analysis.

The diallyl sulphide compounds were mixed with a suphur-containing enzyme which changed the enzyme’s function and effectively shuts down the pathogen’s metabolism.

The WSU team discovered that diallyl sulphide easily penetrated the protected biofilm and killed bacterial cells.

The WSU report said: “Diallyl sulphide treatment totally inactivated the cells within the biofilm with 5 hours compared with 24 hours for ciprofloxacin and erythromycin, as determined by the number of viable bacteria recovered following treatment”.

The report also added: “This is the first time diallyl sulphide has been shown to have a significantly higher antimicrobial effect against bacterial biofilms compared with commonly used antibiotics.

“Based on our data, diallyl sulphide may be a suitable antimicrobial agency and useful as a natural food preservative”.


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