Isothiocyanates (R-N = C = S) are derivatives from gluco-sinolates in cells of plants of the Cruciferae or mustard family (cabbage, kohlrabi, Brüssel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, horseradish, mustard, turnips, rutabaga). They are potent antifungal and antimicrobial agents (91). These compounds are formed from the action of the enzyme myrosinase (thioglucoside glucohydrolase) on the glucosinolates when the plant tissue is injured or mechanically disrupted. Common isothiocyanate side groups include allyl (AIT), ethyl, methyl, benzyl, and phenyl. The compounds are inhibitory to fungi, yeasts, and bacteria in the range of 0.016 to 0.062 //g/mL in the vapor phase (92). Inhibition depends on the compound type against bacteria but generally Gram-positive bacteria are less sensitive to AIT than are Gram-negative bacteria. The mechanism by which isothiocyanates inhibit cells may involve enzymes by direct reaction with disulfide bonds or through thiocy-anate (SCN~) anion reaction to inactivate sulfhydryl enzymes (91). These compounds have very low sensory thresholds, but they may be useful as food antimicrobials due to their low inhibitory concentrations.
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