Could garlic be the answer to beating antibiotic resistance?

Ajoene, a compound found in garlic, interferes with the chemical communication signals between bacteria (Andy Butterton/PA) Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Scientists hope they have solved the growing threat of human resistance to antibiotics by reproducing a compound found in garlic.

The compound ajoene has been created in a laboratory for the first time, raising hopes it could now be manufactured at low cost and on a large scale.

Antibiotic resistance has been labelled one of the most urgent threats to public health by medical professionals.

They fear a rise in drug-resistant super bugs could become a reality, caused by an overuse of antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them.

But the new findings could help combat the threat after ajoene, a colourless liquid which interferes with the chemical communication signals between bacteria, was synthetically created for the first time.

The results of the Cardiff University-led research have been published in leading chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.

Lead author of the study Professor Thomas Wirth, from Cardiff University’s School of Chemistry, said: “Using easily available starting materials we’ve successfully created an efficient, robust and reliable way of producing ajoene in large volumes.

“The remarkable antibacterial properties of this compound have shown great promise and we hope that this new breakthrough will accelerate efforts to produce ajoene in large volumes and better test its effectiveness as a therapeutic drug.”