Researchers at Washington State University conducted a study in which a compound contained in garlic was found to be ‘100 times more powerful than two popular antibiotics at fighting the Campylobacter bacterium, one of the leading causes of intestinal illness.’
A compound contained in garlic was found to be 100 times more powerful than ciprofloxacin and erythromycin, popular antibiotics at fighting Campylobacter jejuni infection. The powerful compound is diallyl sulphide, which was found to be able to break through the protective biofilm of the bug and thus easily destroy it. What’s even more amazing about this compound is that its effects were manifested within a “fraction of time.”
Campylobacter infections are usually caused by consumption of raw or undercooked poultry or other foods that have been cross-contaminated by unclean utensils and preparation surfaces.
Common symptoms of this infection are diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and cramping.
Furthermore, an alarming fact is that this particular bacteria is also responsible for triggering almost a third of cases of a rare paralyzing disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Considering the fact that nearly 2.4 million Americans suffer from this infection annually, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, the rising concern is absolutely justified.
According to the Food Standards Agency, this infection is also the leading cause of food poisoning in the UK, being responsible for 88 deaths in England and Wales in 2009.
“Campylobacter is simply the most common bacterial cause of food-borne illness in the United States and probably the world,” said Michael Konkel, a co-author of the study.
Xionan Lu, the lead author, reported that the study showed diallyl sulphide was able to reduce disease-causing bacteria both in the environment and in the food supply. Konkel also said that it was “the first step in developing or thinking about new intervention strategies.”
Barbara Rasco, a co-author, quite optimistically said that this amazing compound could increase the safety of many foods. She also added that “it can be used to clean food preparation surfaces and as a preservative in packaged foods like potato and pasta salads, coleslaw and deli meats.”
The importance of this finding, which was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, goes beyond the fact that a potential cure for food poisoning was found, because it also allows a further investigation into new treatments for raw and processed meats, and food preparation surfaces, which would undoubtedly decrease the incidence rate of Campylobacter infection.
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