Scientists Uncover Garlic’s Bacteria-Killing Abilities

For centuries, cooks have known that garlic appears to have preservative properties. Now, researchers at Washington State University, Pullman, discovered exactly what compounds found in the bulb give it its protective nature.

Scientists had previously believed that garlic’s phenolic compounds were responsible for its bacteria-killing properties. However, using a combination of spectroscopy technologies, the team found that organosulfur is able to penetrate bacteria membranes.

“Our result demonstrated that the garlic-derived organosulfur compounds have the potential to be used as antimicrobial agents,” said co-author Xiaonan Lu.

In the trial, the researchers used the microbe campylobacter jejun because it’s a common cause of bacterial food poisoning, leading to abdominal cramps, fever, diarrhea and blood problems. Continue reading