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Concept: Garlic


BACKGROUND: In ancient times, plants were recognized for their medicinal properties. Later, the arrival of synthetic drugs pushed it to the backstage. However, from being merely used for food, plants are now been widely explored for their therapeutic value. The current study explores the potential of skin and flesh extracts from a hard-necked Rocambole variety of purple garlic in preventing cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and cell death. METHODS: Norepinephrine (NE) was used to induce hypertrophy in adult rat cardiomyocytes pretreated with garlic skin and flesh extracts. Cell death was measured as ratio of rod to round shaped cardiomyocytes. Fluorescent probes were used to measure apoptosis and oxidative stress in cardiomyocytes treated with and without extracts and NE. Pharmacological blockade of nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) were used to elucidate the mechanism of action of garlic extracts. Garlic extract samples were also tested for alliin and allicin concentrations. RESULTS: Exposure of cardiomyocytes to NE induced an increase in cell size and cell death; this increase was significantly prevented upon treatment with garlic skin and flesh extracts. Norepinephrine increased apoptosis and oxidative stress in cardiomyocytes which was prevented upon pretreatment with skin and flesh extracts; NO, and H2S blockers significantly inhibited this beneficial effect. Allicin and alliin concentration were significantly higher in garlic flesh extract when compared to the skin extract. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that both skin and flesh garlic extracts are effective in preventing NE induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and cell death. Reduction in oxidative stress may also play an important role in the anti-hypertrophic and anti-apoptotic properties of garlic extracts. These beneficial effects may in part be mediated by NO and H2S.

Concepts: Nitrogen, Radical, Zinc, Sulfur, Garlic, Hydrogen sulfide, PReVENT, Allicin


The odor of human breast milk after ingestion of raw garlic at food-relevant concentrations by breastfeeding mothers was investigated for the first time chemo-analytically using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/olfactometry (GC-MS/O), as well as sensorially using a trained human sensory panel. Sensory evaluation revealed a clear garlic/cabbage-like odor that appeared in breast milk about 2.5 h after consumption of garlic. GC-MS/O analyses confirmed the occurrence of garlic-derived metabolites in breast milk, namely allyl methyl sulfide (AMS), allyl methyl sulfoxide (AMSO) and allyl methyl sulfone (AMSO₂). Of these, only AMS had a garlic-like odor whereas the other two metabolites were odorless. This demonstrates that the odor change in human milk is not related to a direct transfer of garlic odorants, as is currently believed, but rather derives from a single metabolite. The formation of these metabolites is not fully understood, but AMSO and AMSO₂ are most likely formed by the oxidation of AMS in the human body. The excretion rates of these metabolites into breast milk were strongly time-dependent with large inter-individual differences.

Concepts: Functional group, Milk, Lactation, Sulfur, Breast, Garlic, Breast milk, Dimethyl sulfoxide


Onion and garlic are renowned for their roles as functional foods. The health benefits of garlic are attributed to di-2-propenyl thiosulfinate (allicin), a sulfur compound found in disrupted garlic but not found in disrupted onion. Recently, onions have been grown with repressed lachrymatory factor synthase (LFS) activity, which causes these onions to produce increased amounts of di-1-propenyl thiosulfinate, an isomer of allicin. This investigation into the key health attributes of LFS-silenced (tearless) onions demonstrates that they have some attributes more similar to garlic and that this is likely due to the production of novel thiosulfinate or metabolites. The key finding was that collagen-induced in vitro platelet aggregation was significantly reduced by tearless onion extract over normal onion extract. Thiosulfinate or derived compounds were shown not to be responsible for the observed changes in the inflammatory response of AGS (stomach adenocarcinoma) cells to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) when pretreated with model onion juices. A preliminary rat feeding trial indicated that the tearless onions may also play a key role in reducing weight gain.

Concepts: Inflammation, Platelet, Garlic, Allium, Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, Onion, Allicin, Tree onion


The phenolic compounds were extracted from green and yellow leaves, stalks, and seeds of garlic ( Allium ursinum L.). The extracts were analyzed by liquid chromatography-photodiode array detector-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-PDA-ESI-MS/MS). In total, 21 compounds were detected. The flavonol derivatives were identified on the basis of their ultraviolet (UV) spectra and fragmentation patterns in collision-induced dissociation experiments. On the basis of accurate MS and MS/MS data, six compounds were newly identified in bear’s garlic, mainly the kaempferol derivatives. As far as the investigated parts of garlic are concerned, the kaempferol derivatives were found to be predominant in yellow leaves [2362.96 mg/100 g of dry matter (dm)], followed by green leaves (1856.31 mg/100 g of dm). Seeds contained the minimal phenolic compounds, less than stalks. The yellow leaves of A. ursinum possessed a much larger content of compounds acylated with p-coumaric acid than green leaves (1299.97 versus 855.67 mg/100 g of dm, respectively). The stalks and seeds contained much more non-acetylated than acetylated flavonoid glycosides with p-coumaric acid compounds (162.4 versus 62.82 mg/100 g of dm and 105.49 versus 24.18 mg/100 g of dm, respectively).

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Garlic, Allium, Quercetin, Flavonoid, Phenols, Tandem mass spectrometry, Myricetin


Onions (Allium cepa L.) are plagued by a number of bacterial pathogens including Pantoea ananatis, P. agglomerans, Burkholderia cepacia, Enterobacter cloacae, Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum, Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. axonopodis and several Pseudomonas spp. We developed a semi-selective medium, termed onion extract medium (OEM), to selectively and rapidly isolate bacteria pathogenic to and associated with onions and onion-related samples including bulbs, seeds, sets, transplant seedlings, soil and water. Most strains of interest grow sufficiently on OEM in 24h at 28°C for tentative identification based on colony morphology, facilitating further characterization by microbiological and/or molecular means.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Pathogen, Garlic, Allium, Onion, Bulb, Shallot


Abstract Advanced glycation endproducts and oxidative stress contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetic complications. The total phenolic content (TPC), antioxidant, and antiglycation properties of crude ethanolic extracts of 10 common culinary herbs and spices from Mauritius were investigated in vitro. Fluorescence at 370 nm/440 nm was used as an index of albumin glycation. Allium sativum had the highest TPC (3.1 mg GAE/mL), whereas Allium cepa L. showed the highest radical scavenging capacity (72%) and Zingiber officinale had the most potent ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) (2.99 mg AAE/mL). In contrast, Thymus vulgaris and Petroselinum crispum had the most potent antiglycation activity with IC(50) values of 21.8 and 200 mg/mL, respectively. There was no significant correlation between TPC (r=0.001), FRAP (r=0.161), and the antiglycation activity (r=0.034) for the extracts studied. Therefore, the results showed that antiglycation properties of plant-derived extracts cannot always be attributed to their phenolic content or antioxidant potential.

Concepts: Oxidative stress, Oxidative phosphorylation, Garlic, Allium, Ginger, Onion, Spice, Alliaceae


The disposal of municipal waste in landfills may pose an environmental problem because the product of the decomposition of these residues generates large volumes of leachate, which may present high toxicity. The aim of this study was to assess the toxic and genotoxic effects of a sample of untreated leachate in fish (Leporinus obtusidens) and onions (Allium cepa). The leachate was collected in a landfill located in the region of Vale do Rio dos Sinos, southern Brazil. The fish were exposed to raw leachate, at concentrations of 0.5%, 1.0%, 5%, 10% and 20% for 6 days, while the bulbs of A. cepa were exposed to concentrations of 5%, 10%, 25%, 50% and 100% for 48 h. For fish, the concentrations of 5%, 10% and 20% were lethal, thus indicating high toxicity; however, sublethal concentrations (0.5% and 1.0%) showed no genotoxicity by micronucleus test when compared with the control group. In the bioassays involving onions, high toxicity was observed, with significant reduction of root growth and mitotic index in bulbs exposed to the 100% concentration of the leachate. An increase in the frequency of chromosome abnormalities in the A. cepa root cells in anaphase-telophase was observed in accordance with the increase in the concentration of leachate (5%, 10%, 25% and 50%), with values significantly greater than the control, at the highest concentration. The results showed that the leachate contains toxic and genotoxic substances, thus representing a major source of environmental pollution if not handled properly.

Concepts: Toxicology, Pollution, Garlic, Allium, Root, Leachate, Landfill, Onion


Intercropping and rotating banana (Musa spp.) with Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum Rottler) has been used as an effective method to control Panama disease (Fusarium wilt) of banana in South China. However, the underlying mechanism is unknown. In this study, we used aqueous leachates and volatiles from Chinese chive to evaluate their antimicrobial activity on Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense race 4 (FOC), the causal agent of Panama disease in banana, and identified the antifungal compounds. Both leaf and root leachates of Chinese chive displayed strong inhibition against FOC, but the concentrated leachates showed lower inhibition than the original leachates. In a sealed system volatiles emitted from the leaves and roots of Chinese chive inhibited mycelial growth of FOC. Volatile compounds emitted from the intact growing roots mimicking natural environment inhibited spore germination of FOC. We identified five volatiles including 2-methyl-2-pentenal and four organosulfur compounds (dimethyl trisulfide, dimethyl disulfide, dipropyl disulfide, and dipropyl trisulfide) from the leaves and roots of Chinese chive. All these compounds exhibited inhibitory effects on FOC, but 2-methyl-2-pentenal and dimethyl trisulfide showed stronger inhibition than the other three compounds. 2-Methyl-2-pentenal at 50-100 μl/l completely inhibited the mycelial growth of FOC. Our results demonstrate that antifungal volatiles released from Chinese chive help control Panama disease in banana. We conclude that intercropping and rotating banana with Chinese chive can control Panama disease and increase cropland biodiversity.

Concepts: Fusarium, Garlic, Allium, Fusarium oxysporum, Plant pathogens and diseases, Volatile, Banana, Dimethyl sulfide


Garlic causes a strong garlic breath that may persist for almost a day. Therefore, it is important to study deodorization techniques for garlic breath. The volatiles responsible for garlic breath include diallyl disulfide, allyl mercaptan, allyl methyl disulfide, and allyl methyl sulfide. After eating garlic, water (control), raw, juiced or heated apple, raw or heated lettuce, raw or juiced mint leaves, or green tea were consumed immediately. The levels of the garlic volatiles on the breath were analyzed from 1 to 60 min by selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS). Garlic was also blended with water (control), polyphenol oxidase (PPO), rosemarinic acid, quercetin or catechin, and the volatiles in the headspace analyzed from 3 to 40 min by SIFT-MS. Raw apple, raw lettuce, and mint leaves significantly decreased all of the garlic breath volatiles in vivo. The proposed mechanism is enzymatic deodorization where volatiles react with phenolic compounds. Apple juice and mint juice also had a deodorizing effect on most of the garlic volatiles but were generally not as effective as the raw food, probably because the juice had enzymatic activity but the phenolic compounds had already polymerized. Both heated apple and heated lettuce produced a significant reduction of diallyl disulfide and allyl mercaptan. The presence of phenolic compounds that react with the volatile compounds even in the absence of enzymes is the most likely mechanism. Green tea had no deodorizing effect on the garlic volatile compounds. Rosmarinic acid, catechin, quercetin, and PPO significantly decreased all garlic breath volatiles in vitro. Rosmarinic acid was the most effective at deodorization.

Concepts: Functional groups, Garlic, Catechin, Quercetin, Phenols, Enzymes, Phenolic compounds in wine, Volatile


Beneficial health properties of garlic, as well as its most common adverse effect - distinctive breath odour - are well-known. In contrast, analogous research on the effect of garlic on axillary odour is currently missing. Here, in three studies varying in the amount and nature of garlic provided (raw garlic in study 1 and 2, garlic capsules in study 3), we tested the effect of garlic consumption on quality of axillary odour. A balanced within-subject experimental design was used. In total, 42 male odour donors were allocated to either a “garlic” or “non-garlic” condition, after which they wore axillary pads for 12 hours to collect body odour. One week later, the conditions were reversed. Odour samples were then judged for their pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity and intensity by 82 women. We found no significant differences in ratings of any characteristics in study 1. However, the odour of donors after an increased garlic dosage was assessed as significantly more pleasant, attractive and less intense (study 2), and more attractive and less intense in study 3. Our results indicate that garlic consumption may have positive effects on perceived body odour hedonicity, perhaps due to its health effects (e. g., antioxidant properties, antimicrobial activity).

Concepts: Effect, Affect, Perception, Garlic, Antimicrobial, Pleasure, Hedonism, Body odor