What Worth the Garlic Peel

Jeevan R. Singiri, Bupur Swetha, Arava Ben-Natan, Gideon Grafi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Plants have two types of reproduction: sexual, resulting in embryo production, and asexual, resulting in vegetative bodies commonly derived from stems and roots (e.g., bulb, tuber). Dead organs enclosing embryos (DOEEs, such as seed coat and pericarp) are emerging as central components of the dispersal unit acting to nurture the embryo and ensure its survival in the habitat. Here we wanted to investigate the properties of dead organs enclosing plant asexual reproductive bodies, focusing on the garlic (Allium sativum) bulb. We investigated the biochemical and biological properties of the outer peel enclosing the bulb and the inner peel enclosing the clove using various methodologies, including bioassays, proteomics, and metabolomics. The garlic peels differentially affected germination and post-germination growth, with the outer peel demonstrating a strong negative effect on seed germination of Sinapis alba and on post-germination growth of Brassica juncea. Proteome analysis showed that dead garlic peels possess 67 proteins, including chitinases and proteases, which retained their enzymatic activity. Among primary metabolites identified in garlic peels, the outer peel accumulated multiple sugars, including rhamnose, mannitol, sorbitol, and trehalose, as well as the modified amino acid 5-hydroxylysine, known as a major component of collagen, at a higher level compared to the clove and the inner peel. Growth of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus was promoted by garlic peel extracts but inhibited by clove extract. All extracts strongly inhibited spore germination of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. melonis. Thus, the garlic peels not only provide physical protection to vegetative offspring but also appear to function as a refined arsenal of proteins and metabolites for enhancing growth and development, combating potential pathogens, and conferring tolerance to abiotic stresses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2126
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Allelochemicals
  • Allium sativum (garlic)
  • Asexual reproduction
  • Bulb
  • Chitinases
  • Dead organs enclosing reproductive body
  • Garlic peels
  • Microbial growth
  • Nucleases
  • Primary metabolites
  • Proteases
  • Proteome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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