Garlic beats antibiotics at fighting food bugs

Garlic puts up a good fight against food poisoning.
Photo / Thinkstock
Garlic puts up a good fight against food poisoning. Photo / Thinkstock

Garlic is 100 times more powerful than popular antibiotics at fighting food poisoning, scientists have found.

Tests confirm that a compound in garlic - diallyl sulphide - can easily breach a slimy protective biofilm employed by the bug to make it harder to destroy.

Not only is it a lot more powerful than antibiotics erythromycin and ciprofloxacin, it also takes a fraction of the time to work.

The findings, published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, could open the door to new treatments for raw and processed meats, and food preparation surfaces that would reduce the toll of campylobacter food poisoning.

Dr Michael Konkel, from Washington State University, said the progress is exciting.

"It shows this compound has the potential to reduce disease-causing bacteria in the environment and in our food supply.

"Campylobacter is the most common bacterial cause of food-borne illness in the United States and probably the world."

Most campylobacter infections stem from eating raw or undercooked poultry or foods that have been cross-contaminated via dirty surfaces and utensils. Symptoms of the infection include diarrhoea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever.

The bacteria also triggers nearly a third of cases of a rare paralysing disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome.


- Daily Mail

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