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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2001 Jan;67(1):475-80.

Antimicrobial properties of garlic oil against human enteric bacteria: evaluation of methodologies and comparisons with garlic oil sulfides and garlic powder.

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  • 1St. George's University, St. George's, Grenada, West Indies, United Kingdom.


The antimicrobial effects of aqueous garlic extracts are well established but those of garlic oil (GO) are little known. Methodologies for estimating the antimicrobial activity of GO were assessed and GO, GO sulfide constituents, and garlic powder (GP) were compared in tests against human enteric bacteria. Test methodologies were identified as capable of producing underestimates of GO activity. Antimicrobial activity was greater in media lacking tryptone or cysteine, suggesting that, as for allicin, GO effects may involve sulfhydryl reactivity. All bacteria tested, which included both gram-negative and -positive bacteria and pathogenic forms, were susceptible to garlic materials. On a weight-of-product basis, 24 h MICs for GO (0.02 to 5.5 mg/ml, 62 enteric isolates) and dimethyl trisulfide (0.02 to 0.31 mg/ml, 6 enteric isolates) were lower than those for a mixture of diallyl sulfides (0.63 to 25 mg/ml, 6 enteric isolates) and for GP, which also exhibited a smaller MIC range (6.25 to 12.5 mg/ml, 29 enteric isolates). Viability time studies of GO and GP against Enterobacter aerogenes showed time- and dose-dependent effects. Based upon its thiosulfinate content, GP was more active than GO against most bacteria, although some properties of GO are identified as offering greater therapeutic potential. Further exploration of the potential of GP and GO in enteric disease control appears warranted.

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