CEL70:Notebook/BL2104 - 2009 - Group Project

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Antimicrobial effectiveness of Allium sativum preparation


The increased misuse of antibiotics has given rise to resistance in bacteria (Hawkey 2008), an evolutionary mechanism attributable to natural selection. Improved clinical procedures can decrease the occurrence of multiple drug-resistant microbes, as has been demonstrated with methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in American hospitals (Burton 2009), but since it cannot eliminate the problem alternative antimicrobial treatments have to be developed. It is apparently more difficult for bacteria to become resistant to natural biocides, therefore increasing the use of such is considered to be a sensible approach to preventing further resistant strains arising as well as treating those already established.


A natural biocide such as allicin (Cavallito 1944), has been demonstrated to exhibit significant antimicrobial properties (Holzgartner1992), a result mainly attributed to thiol-modifying and antioxidant abilities (Cavallito 1944, Wills 1956, Prasad 1998, Rabinkov 1998). Allicin is chemically unstable and reactive, it is hence not found in intact Allium sativum. Only damaging the compartments associates the non proteinogenic amino acid alliin and its enzyme allinase giving rise to the desired biologically active metabolite (Stoll1951).

Ever since the discovery of allicin’s antimicrobial effects, allicin or allicin derivatives have been marketed in health shops as ‘health promoters’. Due to allicin’s instability, the integrity of such preparations is questionable.


The objective of this experiment is to demonstrate the effectiveness of commercially available allicin preparations (which is found in garlic) on the skin bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. We expect a minor effect or no effect at all on bacterial growth due to allicin's chemical instability.


  • HEPES buffer
  • Staph. aureus culture
  • Distilled water
  • Glucose based agar
  • Glass spreader
  • Ethanol 70%
  • commercially available Allium sativum health product
  • Ph meter
  • HCl (aq) 1M
  • NaOH (aq) 1M


  1. HEPES buffer calibrated to ph 7.50 made up to 500ml
  2. Content of garlic capsules extracted.
  3. 5x 10x dilution series of Garlic
  4. 100ul Staph Aureus spread over series of Sucrose based agar plates using Aseptic technique
  5. 100ul of each sample spread over bacteria using Aseptic technique.
  6. One undiluted sample, 5x 10x dilution series.
  7. One control plate using 100ul HEPES buffer.
  8. Incubate at 37˚C for 24 hours
  9. Photograph and analyse results


All plates, regardless of the level of treatment, showed the same amount of bacterial growth. The experimental plates also displayed no difference in bacterial growth from the control plate.


The results show the antimicrobial ineffectiveness of the commercially available allium sativum preparation tested.


The commercially available allium sativum/allicin preparation tested demonstrated no antimicrobial effectiveness on S. aureus. This has important implications for the health product market, which commonly manufactures items based on new scientific trends. Clinical results may emphasize the benefits of these natural compounds but the evidence must be viewed critically, especially with regard to the conditions under which the results were obtained.


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  1. Error fetching PMID 856026: [Azuma_1977]
  2. Error fetching PMID 15892950: [Bakri_2005]
  3. Error fetching PMID 19224749: [Burton_2009]
  4. Chester J. Cavallito, John Hays Bailey, "Allicin, the Antibacterial Principle of Allium sativum. I. Isolation, Physical Properties and Antibacterial Action", Journal of the American Chemical Society, 1944, volume 66, pp 1950 - 1951. Template:DOI


  5. Error fetching PMID 17199238: [Edris_2007]
  6. Ellmore G. S. und Feldberg R. S. (1994): Allin Lyase Localization in Bundle Sheaths of the Garlic Clove (Allium sativum). In: Am. J. Bot, 81(1); 89–94


  7. Principles and Practice of Disinfection, Preservation and Sterilization. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2007. isbn:1405101997. [Fraise]
  8. Error fetching PMID 17461963: [Groppo_2007]
  9. Error fetching PMID 7778769: [Han_1995]
  10. Error fetching PMID 18684701: [Hawkey_2008]
  11. Error fetching PMID 1288512: [Holzgartner_1992]
  12. Lawson, L.D. and Wang, Z.J., 1993. Pre-hepatic fate of the organosulfur compounds derived from garlic (Allium sativum). Planta Medica 59, pp. A688–689


  13. Error fetching PMID 1775579: [Lawson_1991]
  14. Koch, H P. Biopharmaceutics of garlic's effective compounds. In: Koch H P, Lawson L D. , editors; Koch H P, Lawson L D. , editors. Garlic. The science and therapeutic application of Allium sativum L. and related species. Baltimore, Md: Williams & Wilkins; 1996. pp. 213–220.


  15. Error fetching PMID 2847508: [Mayeux_1988]
  16. Error fetching PMID 8594422: [Prasad_1966]
  17. Error fetching PMID 9528659: [Rabinkov_1998]
  18. Error fetching PMID 37780: [Riddles_1979]
  19. Error fetching PMID 11238826: [Sivam_2001]
  20. Error fetching PMID 14831230: [Stoll_1951]
  21. Error fetching PMID 38891: [Talgoy_1979]
  22. Error fetching PMID 14585852: [Tsao_2003]
  23. Error fetching PMID 13341914: [Willis_1956]
All Medline abstracts: PubMed HubMed


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