Garlic, the pungent and tasty herb that adds a kick to many dishes and purportedly makes vampires keep their distance, now has more scientific evidence to back up its reputation as a powerful natural antimicrobial agent.
Recent research studied the antimicrobial effects of diallyle sulphide (one of the main medicinal ingredients in garlic) on Campylobacter, a bacterium that frequently causes intestinal infections and is especially hard to clean from food-preparation surfaces because of its slimy protective biofilm.
Researchers treated Campylobacter with two common antibiotics and then with the diallyl sulphide compound derived from garlic.
The antibiotics had some effect, but the garlic compound was by far the winner. Not only did the garlic compound work faster and infiltrate the biofilm, but it was 100 times as effective and killed the bacteria.
Practical applications may involve diallyl sulphide as an ingredient for products used to clean food-preparation sites and to stop bacterial colonization in packaged foods.