Antimicrobial Functions of Spices: Why Some Like it Hot

  title={Antimicrobial Functions of Spices: Why Some Like it Hot},
  author={Jennifer Billing and Paul W. Sherman},
  journal={The Quarterly Review of Biology},
  pages={3 - 49}
Although spices have been important for centuries in food preparation throughout the world, patterns of spice use differ considerably among cultures and countries. What factors underlie these differences? Why are spices used at all? to investigate these questions, we quantified the frequency of use of 43 spices in the meat-based cuisines of the 36 countries for which we could locate traditional cookbooks. A total 4578 recipes from 93 cookbooks was analysed. We also compiled information on the… 

Why vegetable recipes are not very spicy.

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  • Biology, Medicine
    Evolution and human behavior : official journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society
  • 2001


Many of the spices and herbs used today have been valued for their antimicrobial effects and medicinal powers in addition to their flavor and fragrance qualities. Most of the foodborne bacterial

Why do people living in hot climates like their food spicy?

Here it is proposed that, even in this age of globalization, cultural considerations and the fact (for good reasons) that humans are hesitant to try new foods explain why persons that live in hotter climates spice their foods to a greater extent than persons that living in cooler climates.

Antimicrobial properties of three spices used in the preparation of suya condiment against organisms isolated from formulated samples and individual ingredients

The sensitivity of isolated organisms revealed that clove is outstanding compared to the much worked on garlic and that gram positive bacteria showed higher sensitivity to spices than gram negative bacteria.

Herbal Spices as Alternative Antimicrobial Food Preservatives: An Update

A bird’s eye view is given mainly on the recent research on antimicrobial potential of herbal spices and their derivatives against some pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms in foods, their antioxidant activities along with possible adverse effects and advocates for more research to elucidate their commercial utilization in food preservation.

Darwinian Gastronomy : Why We Use Spices Spices taste good because they are good for us

pices are plant products used in flavoring foods and beverages. For thousands of years, aromatic plant materials have been used in food preparation and preservation, as well as for embalming, in

Antimicrobial Effects of Spices on Spoilage Organisms of Moin-Moin

There is a renewed interest in the antimicrobial properties of spices. This study investigates the antimicrobial effects of spices on spoilage organisms of moin-moin a traditional West African dish

Measurement of spices and seasonings in India: opportunities for cancer epidemiology and prevention.

Using a novel method for assessing food items primarly added during cooking, per capita consumption in India is estimated within an epidemiologic study based on basic science research and suggestive ecologic level data on cancer incidence and spice consumption.

Plants are the Potential Source of Nutraceuticals and Phytomedicinal Chemicals

The phytochemicals are secondary metabolites which are induced in presence of abiotic stress like UV, mineral salts etc. which are used to improve the food quality by preventing the "Food poisoning" by various pathogenic microorganisms.

Adaptive ingredients against food spoilage in Japanese cuisine

  • Y. Ohtsubo
  • Medicine
    International journal of food sciences and nutrition
  • 2009
Whether two antimicrobial ingredients (i.e. spices and vinegar) are used in ways consistent with the antimicrobial hypothesis are explored, which revealed that the vinegar use pattern conformed to the predictions.




There is a renewed interest in the antimicrobial properties of spices. In vitro activities of several ground spices, their water and alcohol extracts, and their essential oils have been demonstrated

Assessment of the Microbiological Quality of Spices and Herbs.

The spice toxicity tests in regard to Salmonella demonstrated that diluted spice:pre-enrichment ratios of 1:1000 are necessary for cloves, pimento, cinnamon, oregano and mustard seed to confidently isolate this organism of public health concern.

Antimicrobial Activity of Some Egyptian Spice Essential Oils.

The data show that Gram-positive bacteria were more sensitive to the antimicrobial compounds in spices than Gram-negative bacteria, and Thyme and cumin oils possessed very strong antimicrobial activity compared with the other essential oils.

[Antibacterial properties of some spice plants before and after heat treatment].

  • H. C. ChenM. ChangT. Chang
  • Chemistry, Medicine
    Zhonghua Minguo wei sheng wu ji mian yi xue za zhi = Chinese journal of microbiology and immunology
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In general, antibacterial components in the spice plants were heat labile, and all the spices tested lost their antibacterial activities within 20 min at 100 degrees C.

The antimicrobial properties of chile peppers (Capsicum species) and their uses in Mayan medicine.


Thirteen spices were screened for growth inhibition effect against Listeria monocytogenes at 24°C using a concentration gradient plate method. Cloves, and oregano were the two most inhibitory spices


At spice concentrations to 2% in growth media, gram positive bacteria were more sensitive than gram negative bacteria, and sage had the highest antibacterial activity, followed closely by rosemary, which enhanced the antibacterial effect.

Comparative Antimycotic Effects of Selected Herbs, Spices, Plant Components and Commercial Antifungal Agents 1.

The antifungal effects of 16 ground herbs and spices, 4 other plant materials, 3 commercial antifungal agents, tannic acid and 2 experimental mold inhibitors were tested against seven mycotoxin-

Inhibition of Clostridium botulinum by Spice Extracts and Aliphatic Alcohols.

Of the series C1 to C18, aliphatic straight chain alcohols of C14 or C16 chain-lengths were the most inhibitory against C. botulinum with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 0.6 ppm.