Researchers find new compound to combat Campylobacter

Credit: Alessandro Paiva

Campylobacter may have met its match.

And, in a stunning twist, it’s the same substance that makes Dracula cringe – garlic.

Researchers at Washington State University have found that a compound derived from garlic, diallyl sulfide, is 100 times more effective against Campylobacter than some of the antibiotics used to treat it.

Campylobacter is one of the most common causes behind gastrointestinal illness in the U.S., and is responsible for about 2.4 million infections a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its unpleasant symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea and cramps.

In lab studies, diallyl sulfide killed Campylobacter jejuni even when it was protected by a slimy biofilm, which is 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics than unprotected, individual Campylobacter cells, according to a statement from Washington State.

The find still is in the research stages with practical application a while off, the researchers Xiaonan Lu and Michael Konkel said in the statement.

Researchers from Washington State also have published papers documenting how diallyl sulfide and other organic sulfur compounds can kill other foodborne pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes.

The research was published earlier this month in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

The article is available here (subscription required).

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