Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Alliinases have been studied in animals and plants, but relatively little attention has been given to bacterial alliinases. Therefore, an investigation was initiated to determine the prevalence and nature of alliinase systems in bacteria. A method of determining alliinase activity in bacteria was developed. The procedure was based on qualitative or quantitative detection of allicin, by a color reaction with N-ethylmaleimide. Alliinase was found to be present in some strains and absent in others. In still other strains, alliinase seemed to be a variable characteristic. It was speculated that alliin cleavage in bacteria might be accomplished via an inducible cystathionase. Both alliinase and cystathionase activities were found in cell crops of E. coli and B. subtilis, when these organisms were cultivated in a glucose-salts medium. Also, alliinase and cystathionase activities were found to be co-purified from E. coli cells, through a sixty-fold purification procedure. These pieces of evidence are in support of the theory that bacterial alliinase might be attributable to a cystathionase system.