Formation, nutritional value, and enhancement of characteristic components in black garlic: A review for maximizing the goodness to humans

Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf. 2020 Mar;19(2):801-834. doi: 10.1111/1541-4337.12529. Epub 2020 Jan 22.


Black garlic (BG) is essentially a processed food and obtained through the transformation of fresh garlic (FG) (Allium sativum L.) via a range of chemical reactions (including the Maillard reaction) and microbial fermentation. This review provides the up-to-date knowledge of the dynamic and complicated changes in major components during the conversion of FG to BG, including moisture, lipids, carbohydrates (such as sugars), proteins, organic acids, organic sulfur compounds, alkaloids, polyphenols, melanoidins, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and garlic endophytes. The obtained evidence confirms that BG has several advantages over FG in certain product attributes and biological properties (especially antioxidant activity), and the factors affecting the quality of BG include the type and characteristics of FG and processing technologies and methods (especially pretreatments, and processing temperature and humidity). The interactions among garlic components, and between garlic nutrients and microbes, as well as the interplay between pretreatment and main manufacturing process, all determine the sensory and nutritional qualities of BG. Before BG is marketed as a novel snack or functional food, more research is required to fill the knowledge gaps related to quantitative monitoring of the changes in metabolites (especially those taste-active and/or biological-active substances) during BG manufacturing to maximize BG's antioxidant, anticancer, antiobesity, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulatory, anti-allergic, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective and oxidative stress-/hangover syndrome-reducing functions, and beneficial effects on memory/nervous systems. Assessments of the quality, efficacy, and safety of BG should be performed considering the impacts of BG production conditions, postproduction handling, and intake methods.

Keywords: black garlic; characteristic components; enhancement; formation; industrial importance; nutrition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Fermentation
  • Food Handling / methods
  • Garlic / chemistry*
  • Garlic / microbiology
  • Maillard Reaction
  • Nutritive Value*


  • Antioxidants