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Garlic compound kills food-borne bacteria better than antibiotics

A compound in garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics at fighting the Campylobacter bacterium, one of the most common causes of intestinal illness, researchers at Washington State University have found.

The discovery opens the door to new treatments for raw and processed meats and food preparation surfaces.

“This work is very exciting to me because it shows that this compound has the potential to reduce disease-causing bacteria in the environment and in our food supply,” said Dr. Xiaonan Lu, a postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the paper.

Michael Konkel, a co-author who has been researching Campylobacter jejuni for 25 years, stated, “This is the first step in developing or thinking about new intervention strategies.”

“Campylobacter is simply the most common bacterial cause of food-borne illness in the United States and probably the world,” noted Konkel.

Some 2.4 million Americans are affected every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with symptoms including diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever. The bacteria are also responsible for triggering nearly one-third of the cases of a rare paralyzing disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Most infections stem from eating raw or undercooked poultry or foods that have been cross-contaminated via surfaces or utensils used to prepare poultry.
 
 

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