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Molecules 2017, 22(10), 1711; doi:10.3390/molecules22101711

Diallylthiosulfinate (Allicin), a Volatile Antimicrobial from Garlic (Allium sativum), Kills Human Lung Pathogenic Bacteria, Including MDR Strains, as a Vapor

1
Department of Plant Physiology, RWTH Aachen University, 52056 Aachen, Germany
2
German National Reference Centre of Streptococci (GNRCS), University Hospital RWTH Aachen, 52074 Aachen, Germany
3
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medical Faculty of RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecule Catalysts with Therapeutic Potential)
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Abstract

Garlic (Allium sativum) has potent antimicrobial activity due to allicin (diallylthiosulfinate) synthesized by enzyme catalysis in damaged garlic tissues. Allicin gives crushed garlic its characteristic odor and its volatility makes it potentially useful for combating lung infections. Allicin was synthesized (>98% pure) by oxidation of diallyl disulfide by H2O2 using formic acid as a catalyst and the growth inhibitory effect of allicin vapor and allicin in solution to clinical isolates of lung pathogenic bacteria from the genera Pseudomonas, Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus, including multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains, was demonstrated. Minimal inhibitory (MIC) and minimal bactericidal concentrations (MBC) were determined and compared to clinical antibiotics using standard European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) procedures. The cytotoxicity of allicin to human lung and colon epithelial and murine fibroblast cells was tested in vitro and shown to be ameliorated by glutathione (GSH). Similarly, the sensitivity of rat precision-cut lung slices (PCLS) to allicin was decreased by raising the [GSH] to the approximate blood plasma level of 1 mM. Because allicin inhibited bacterial growth as a vapor, it could be used to combat bacterial lung infections via direct inhalation. Since there are no volatile antibiotics available to treat pulmonary infections, allicin, particularly at sublethal doses in combination with oral antibiotics, could make a valuable addition to currently available treatments. View Full-Text
Keywords: allicin; garlic; Allium sativum; volatile antimicrobial agent; lung pathogenic bacteria; MDR strains; antimicrobial; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Pseudomonas aeruginosa allicin; garlic; Allium sativum; volatile antimicrobial agent; lung pathogenic bacteria; MDR strains; antimicrobial; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Pseudomonas aeruginosa
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Reiter, J.; Levina, N.; van der Linden, M.; Gruhlke, M.; Martin, C.; Slusarenko, A.J. Diallylthiosulfinate (Allicin), a Volatile Antimicrobial from Garlic (Allium sativum), Kills Human Lung Pathogenic Bacteria, Including MDR Strains, as a Vapor. Molecules 2017, 22, 1711.

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