MadSci Network: Microbiology

Re: Does wasabi has disinfecting power?

Date: Tue Feb 5 23:39:44 2002
Posted By: Luke Collyer, Undergraduate, B.Sc, Monash University
Area of science: Microbiology
ID: 1003349388.Mi


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 ;)


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