Over the years, various treatments for garlic breath have been promoted with varying degrees of scientific support. It turns out there is nothing like measuring the malodorous compounds direct from breath when determining the effectiveness of the treatments.
Recent research from Professor Sheryl Barringer’s laboratory at The Ohio State University shows that you can’t cure garlic breath by relying on the results provided by bench chemistry. Headspace analysis of bench-top systems does not correlate with what is actually present on the breath of human subjects.
Instead, direct analysis of the odorous components on a human subject’s breath is really the only way to truly evaluate the effectiveness of deodorizing treatments. Munch and Barringer achieved this by applying SIFT-MS to the direct analysis of the four key organosulfur compounds: allyl methyl disulfide, diallyl disulfide, allyl mercaptan, and allyl methyl sulfide. They have identified enzymatic activity, polyphenolic compounds, and acidity of specific foods as factors that may cause a reduction of these odor volatiles on breath.
The simple, direct SIFT-MS analysis for organosulfur and other volatile organic compounds lends itself to a variety of applications in flavor research, clinical research, and rapid quality assurance applications.
You can read the full text of the article by Munch and Barringer titled “Deodorization of Garlic Breath Volatiles by Food and Food Components” in the Journal of Food Science (volume 79, pages C526-C533). It is available here.