Page 12 - Science Focus (Issue 19)
P. 12

Have you ever had a dish containing garlic and        A combination of volatile sulfur compounds
        had your mouth stinking for a very long time? You     contributes to the distinct smell of garlic breath.
        brushed your teeth several times and used the most    While most of the sulfur-containing compounds
        minty mouthwash, but they all seemed to be useless.   found in garlic are metabolized relatively quickly,
        This article suggests a scientific approach to you to   allyl methyl sulfide (AMS) is metabolized more slowly
        deal with garlic breath so that you will not embarrass   than the rest because an effective way to digest
        yourself in future interviews or important events.    AMS is lacking in our body [1] and it can be detected
                                                              in the breath for as long as 30 hours after ingestion
            To tackle this problem, we have to first delve    of raw garlic [2]. The persistence of AMS is the reason
        into the chemistry of garlic breath. The secret lies   why your breath still stinks the next morning after
        in the sixteenth element in the periodic table: sulfur   having garlic for dinner. AMS and other volatile
        (S). Garlic has many compounds that contain sulfur,   organosulfur compounds are absorbed from the gut
        such as allicin, allyl methyl sulfide, allyl mercaptan   into the bloodstream and then expelled into expired
        and diallyl disulfide. These are volatile compounds   air inside the lungs [1]. This is why brushing teeth and
        that give chopped garlic its distinctive pungent odor.   mouthwashes are ineffective in treating garlic breath.
        After ingesting garlic, these volatile compounds
        would also evaporate in the person’s breath, giving       Thankfully, there are a few effective ways for
        an unpleasant smell. Smelly sulfur compounds are      deodorizing a garlic breath situation. The first is              ingestion. Polyphenols are a group of antioxidant         The next time you enjoy a slice of garlic bread,
        not only found in garlics, in fact the nasty smell    to make use of specific raw foods to disable the                 compounds present in plants and they can capture      do not forget to have a glass of milk and an apple to
        of farts and rotten eggs is due to the presence of    production  of  smelly  compounds  in  the  body.                some  organosulfur  compounds  and  neutralize        go with it to prevent garlic breath and to make it a
        hydrogen sulfide (H2S) .                              In a study conducted by scientists in Ohio State                 their odors to some extent. However, an enzyme        nutritious meal!
                                                                                University [3], it was found that              called polyphenol oxidase can oxidize polyphenols
                                                                                 raw foods high in polyphenols                 into a more potent free radical form. The free
                                                                                  can  reduce  the  amount  of                 radicals generated can effectively remove a stinky    1 Remark:  The myths and facts about farts were introduced in
                                                                                    AMS in the breath after garlic             compound of garlic breath called allyl mercaptan,              Issue 015.
                                                                                                                               preventing it from being further metabolized by
                                                                                                                               the  body  into  its  longer-living  cousin  AMS  [3].    您曾否試過因為吃了以蒜頭入饌的菜式,而令口腔在之
                                                                                                                               Common fruits high in polyphenols like apple,         後一段很長的時間都充斥著蒜頭的味道?儘管你已經刷了
                                                                                                                               plum, cherry, peach and grape were all shown
                                                                                                                               to have a deodorizing effect [4, 5], with apple’s     幾次牙,並用上最濃薄荷味的漱口水,但似乎並沒有甚麼作
                                                                                                                               effect experimentally confirmed by data showing       用。本文會從科學角度,提出一些方法處理蒜頭帶來的口氣,
                                                                                                                               a reduction in AMS level [3]. Like most enzymes,      這樣你就不會在以後的面試或重要日子中因蒜頭味口氣而
                                                                                                                               polyphenol oxidase would become denatured at          感到尷尬了。
                                                                          Garlic                                               high temperatures, so it is most effective to eat your    解決問題之先,我們必須要了解蒜頭味口氣的化學原

                                                                                                                               fruits raw and not cooked.

                                                                                                                                   If you are not a fan of fruits, do not worry. Other   理。其秘密在於週期表中的第 16 個元素:硫(S)。蒜頭
                                                                                                                               studies have shown that drinking milk is also effective
                                                                          Breath…                                              in treating garlic breath [6]. Volatile sulfur compounds   基硫醚(allyl methyl sulfide/AMS),烯丙基硫醇(allyl
                                                                                                                                                                                     mercaptan)和二烯丙基二硫(diallyl disulfide)等。這些
                                                                                                                               can be classified into hydrophilic (water-loving) and
                                                                                                                               hydrophobic (oil-loving) by their chemical structures.   都是揮發性化合物,使切碎的蒜頭具有獨特的刺激性氣味。
                                                                                                                               The concentrations of these compounds (including      進食蒜頭後,這些揮發性化合物會揮發至呼吸氣息中,散發出
                                                                          and How to Deal                                      AMS) were shown to be reduced in the oral and         令人討厭的氣味。帶臭味的硫化物不單存在於蒜頭,事實上,屁
                                                                                                                               nasal cavity after drinking milk. As milk consists of   和腐爛雞蛋的難聞氣味就是源於當中的硫化氫 (H2S)。
                                                                        With It?                                               mainly water and a few percent of fat, it can dissolve
                                                                                                                               both hydrophilic and hydrophobic organosulfur             蒜頭味口氣的獨特味道由不同揮發性硫化物混合而成。
                                                                                                                               compounds and reduce their volatility. In addition,   雖然蒜頭中大多數硫化物的代謝都相對較快,但烯丙基甲基
                                                                           ඹ಄ຯޱᔅ                                               casein, a protein found in milk, was shown to be able   硫醚(AMS)的代謝速度卻比其餘的慢,這是因為我們體內
                                                                                                                               to chemically react with disulfide compounds, such
                                                                                                                                                                                     缺乏有效分解 AMS 的途徑 [1],因此進食生蒜頭後長達 30
                                                                                                                               as diallyl disulfide. It has been postulated that diallyl
                                                                                                                                                                                     小時,在呼吸中仍然可以檢測到 AMS [2]。長時間殘留的
                                                                           ੋʜʜ                                                 disulfide can be metabolized into AMS through a       AMS 就是為甚麼我們在晚餐吃了蒜頭後,口氣在第二天早
                                                                                                                               reductive pathway with glutathione, a mild reducing
                                                                                                                                                                                     上仍然久久不散的原因。AMS 和其他揮發性有機硫化物是
                                                                                                                               agent used by our cells to reduce disulfide bonds
                                                                                     By Kit Kan 簡迎曦                            [7]. Milk with its fat and casein contents can help to   從腸道被吸收到血液,然後排至肺部的呼出空氣中 [1],這就
                                                                                                                               lower the amount of diallyl disulfide, a hydrophobic
                                                                                                                               molecule, available to our system, and in turns less
                                                                                                                               AMS will be formed. These can explain why drinking        幸好,有幾種有效的方法可以去除蒜頭帶來的口氣。第
                                                                                                                               milk is a possible way to reduce garlic breath.       一是生吃某些特定食物來阻止體內產生帶有臭味的化合
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