|MadSci Network: Microbiology|
Hello. According to recent literature, wasabi contains at least one compound with antimicrobial activities. This compound is called 6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate. Homologues of the latter have also been identified with antimicrobial properties. Ono and colleagues (1998) appear to have been the first to establish all this - see the following article: Ono H, Tesaki S, Tanabe S, Watanabe M. (1998), 6-Methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate and its homologues as food-originated compounds with antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 62(2), 363-5. Interestingly, this same compound appears to have chemoprotective properties in mammalian cells. Very recently, Morimitsu and colleagues (2002) have found evidence to suggest that 6-Methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate is a potential activator detoxification enzymes, potentially conferring resistance to a broad set of carcinogens - see Morimitsu et. al. (2002), A sulforaphane analogue that potently activates the Nrf2-dependent detoxification pathway. JBC 277(5), 3456-63. In summary, Wasabi does indeed contain at least one compound with "disinfecting power," that may also potentially reduce the risk of harmful mutations in mammalian cells that led to cancer. Hope your eating your veggies ;) Luke.
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