A newly published study by researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada has identified two organosulphur compounds derived from garlic that show antimicrobial activity against a potentially pathogenic bacterium occasionally found in infant formula.
The researchers used high-throughput RNA sequencing and vibrational spectroscopy to characterise and fingerprint damage in pathogenic bacterial cells under stress. They found that the two compounds from garlic, diallyl sulphide and ajoene, were very effective in killing Cronobacter sakazakii, which can cause potentially fatal meningitis in babies.
Ajoene was found to affect genes involved in cell motility, while diallyl sulphide caused an increased expression of the genes concerned with cell wall synthesis. The authors of the study suggest that the two compounds could be used to help reduce the risk of C. sakazakii contamination in food production environments and on food contact surfaces.
The study is published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology and an abstract can be found here.