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antimicrobial agents, indigenous


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Various compounds occurring naturally in foods that inhibit the growth of micro-organisms. These include essential oils (see oils, essential) such as eugenol in cloves, allicin in garlic, cinnamic aldehyde and eugenol in cinnamon, allyl isothiocyanate in mustard, eugenol and thymol in sage, and carvacrol, isothymol, and thymol in oregano. A number of plants have antibacterial and antifungal activity due to hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives, such as ferulic, caffeic, and chlorogenic acids. Cruciferous plants contain glucosinolates in intracellular vacuoles; when disrupted the glucosinolates are hydrolysed by myrosinase, forming isothiocyanates, which have antifungal and antibacterial activity.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.


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