Isothiocyanates (ITCs) are natural plant products generated by the enzymic hydrolysis of glucosinolates found in Brassicaceae vegetables. These natural sulfur compounds and their dithiocarbamate conjugates have been previously evaluated for their anti-cancerous properties. Their antimicrobial properties have been previously studied as well, mainly for food preservation and plant pathogen control. Recently, several revelations concerning the mode of action of ITCs in prokaryotes have emerged. This review addresses these new studies and proposes a model to summarize the current knowledge and hypotheses for the antibacterial effect of ITCs and whether they may provide the basis for the design of novel antibiotics.
© 2015 The Authors.