Arylamine N-acctyltransferase (NAT) activities with p-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and 2-aminofluorene (2-AF) were determined in the bacterium Helicobacter pylori collected from peptic ulcer patients. Two assay systems were performed, one with cellular cytosols, the other with intact cell suspensions. Cytosols or suspensions of H. pylori with or without specific concentrations of diallyl sulfide (DAS) or diallyl disulfide (DADS) co-treatment showed different percentages of 2-AF and PABA acetylation. The data indicated that there was decreased NAT activity associated with increased levels of DAS or DADS in H. pylori cytosols and suspensions. Viability studies on H. pylori demonstrated that DAS or DADS elicited dose-dependent bactericide affects on H. pylori cultures. The data also indicated that DAS and DADS decreased the apparent values of K(m) and Vmax of NAT enzyme from H. pylori in both systems examined. This report is the first demonstration that garlic components can affect H. pylori growth and NAT activity.