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Justin Thomas

8th Grade, St. Vincent de Paul, Mount Vernon, OH

Photographs from experimentGarlic is antibacterial experiment 1

Garlic is antibacterial experiment 2

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Garlic: Is it antibacterial?

The purpose of this experiment was to test if garlic was antibacterial. The reason why this experiment was done was to see if things like garlic have the same medicinal effects as something a pharmacy would give you. This could change people’s lives in two ways. The first is that the current medicines should not only fight the current illness but strengthen the body for future illnesses. In third-world countries they could grow their own medicines instead of waiting for something to be produced.

The experiment tested garlic specifically to determine whether it is antibacterial. What was done for the experiment was I went to CSCC (Columbus State Community College) to test my hypothesis. At CSCC the auger plates were traced with a permanent marker down the middle and one side labeled “fresh” and the other side labeled “canned”. The bacteria was applied to the auger plates with a q-tip. Garlic was placed inside according to the labels. The auger plates were then placed in the incubator that was exactly at 37°C (human body temperature).

Two days later the auger plates were checked. The auger plates had proved the hypothesis correct. The average for the distance the bacteria colonies were from the garlic was 0.805 cm, which supported the hypothesis; garlic is antibacterial.

Research Paper

All over the world there are viruses and bacteria with a fatal blow. All throughout history people have used herbs for medicines, drugs, and treatments. Even 50,000 years ago, Neanderthal people used herbs for medicine. But in this modern age, people use antibiotics for treatment, but sometimes antibiotics don’t always work. Therefore, herbology is important because certain plants like garlic give people the needed compounds to have a strong immune system to kill harmful pathogens.

The body houses ten times more bacteria than its own cells. Bacteria are not only found on people but everywhere else from hot springs, to freezing Antarctica, to Utah’s Great Salt Lake. Bacteria is put into two kingdoms- archaebacteria and eubacteria. Archaebacteria is the bacteria that live in an animal’s intestines and in harsh environments. They also are the bacteria that live in the bottom of swamps and in sewage. Archaebacteria also produce foul odors. These bacteria are also the oldest bacteria. Eubacteria live practically anywhere else. Billions of eubacteria swarm human bodies each day. Most of these are harmless or even useful to people. The main reason there are two kingdoms for bacteria is because their chemical structures are different.

Some bacteria are autotrophs, meaning these bacteria make their own food. An example of autotroph bacteria is algae that gets its energy from sunlight, makes more copies of itself, gets more energy from the sun and so forth. The other group of bacteria are heterotrophs meaning they get their food by consuming a food substance. These are the bacteria that consume milk, meat, and leaves on the forest floor. The process of breaking down food into energy is called respiration. Bacteria, because they respirate, need oxygen. For some archaebacteria, however, oxygen is poisonous. When conditions are not suitable, bacteria will form endospores. An endospore is a small, thick-celled, rounded, resting cell that forms inside a bacteria cell. Endospores are also lightweight. When conditions are suitable, the endospores will open back up and the bacteria can thrive again.

Most bacteria reproduce by an asexual process called binary fission. Binary fission is where a bacteria cell makes a copy of the genetic material, cytoplasm, and other necessary parts of the bacteria. Then the bacteria split, forming two identical cells. In suitable conditions, bacteria can split every twenty minutes.

The parts of a bacteria cell include the genetic material, which is not contained in a nucleus; however, the genetic material is everywhere in the cytoplasm. The genetic material-which looks like a thick, tangled string-holds all of the information for how the cell works. That’s why bacteria can take several forms such as spiral, rod, or circular shapes. Another part of bacteria is the cytoplasm. Cytoplasm is a gel-like material that holds all of the other parts of the bacteria together. Ribosomes are also important. Ribosomes are the chemical factories that convert food into protein. Other parts of a bacteria cell include the cell wall, which is a thick layer of membrane that protects bacteria and holds the cytoplasm inside. Another part of bacteria is the flagellum. Flagella are long, whiplike structures on the outside of bacteria. Flagella help the bacteria move by moving like a propeller.

To fight bacteria and viruses, you can take antibiotics, but certain strains of bacteria develop immunity, form a tougher cell wall, or generally adapt to these antibiotics. That is why garlic and vegetables of the same family are so essential. Garlic’s responsibility for its high immunity comes from its sulfur compounds. Garlic contains 0.1-0.36% of these strong compounds, which when different things are done to garlic, can change the percentage drastically. Garlic contains thirty-three known sulfur compounds. The main compounds include aliin, allicin, ajoene, allylpropyl, diallyl, trisulfide, sallycysteine, vinyldithiines, and sallylmercaptocystein. Garlic also contains amino acids that boost human immunity as well. Garlic contains minerals essential to the body such as selenium, tenzymes, allinase, peroxidoses, myrosinase, and many more. Did you know garlic contains more sulfur compounds than any other allium spice? When garlic is crushed or cut, that is when most of the antimicrobial sulfur compounds are made. In prime conditions, this process can take place in twenty minutes. This process is where aliin is changed into allicin. Later allicin can be changed into vinyldithiines. However, cooking garlic deactivates most of the sulfur compounds though.
Bacteria can be harmful, but with the help of garlic, you can fight it off.

This project could help doctors make stronger antibiotics, using real plants. Using herbs has worked in the past 50,000 years. This could also help other countries where there are no first aid products. They, instead, could grow foods that will help these people get the compounds needed to kill the harmful pathogens.

By Justin Thomas.

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