Volatile sulfur compounds in human expiration after eating raw or heat-treated garlic

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1999 Apr;45(2):213-22. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.45.213.


Volatile sulfur compounds arising from grated raw or heat-treated garlic in both in-vitro and in-vivo tests were gas-chromatographically analyzed. In in-vitro tests, the head-space vapor gas from garlic in a vial was analyzed. It was clarified that allyl mercaptan arising from raw garlic decreased with the passage of time and other volatile low-molecular sulfur compounds (LMSC) did not show remarkable changes. The change of LMSC from heat-treated garlic was also studied. Methyl mercaptan and allyl mercaptan from heat-treated garlic gradually increased to some extent. On the other hand, the quantities of somewhat high-molecular sulfur compounds (HMSC) were much less in heat-treated garlic compared to those of raw garlic. These compounds increased till approx. 60 min and then decreased gradually. In in-vivo tests, human expiration after eating garlic was analyzed. Allyl mercaptan, methyl mercaptan and allyl methyl sulfide in LMSC were detected in significant amounts. The quantities of these compounds arising from heat-treated garlic were smaller than those from raw garlic. These compounds had the tendency of decreasing with the passage of time. On the other hand, almost no HMSC was detected in both raw and heat-treated garlic. By sensory testing, raw garlic showed a stronger smell than heat-treated garlic in both in-vitro and in-vivo tests. GC analysis exhibited higher values of volatile sulfur compounds in raw garlic. That is, the higher the volatile sulfur compound level, the stronger the garlic flavor or malodor.

MeSH terms

  • Allyl Compounds / analysis
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Disulfides / analysis
  • Female
  • Garlic / chemistry*
  • Garlic / physiology
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Odorants
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / analysis
  • Sulfides / analysis
  • Sulfur Compounds / adverse effects
  • Sulfur Compounds / analysis*
  • Volatilization


  • Allyl Compounds
  • Disulfides
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • Sulfides
  • Sulfur Compounds
  • methylmercaptan
  • dimethyl disulfide
  • dimethyl sulfide
  • allyl methyl sulfide