Garlic is loved by many, while some detest it. Chemists are among garlic lovers, as they have long been interested in the study of chemical compounds that cause magical and medicinal properties of garlic. The main compound responsible for typical smell and taste of freshly cut garlic is allicin. Cutting or crushing garlic enables the enzyme, called allinase, to convert alliin into allicin.
Allicin is unstable and decomposes to other sulfur-containing compounds, such as diallyl sulfide, diallyl disulfide, and diallyl trisulfide. The same process occurs in the body, which leads to characteristic odor in breath after garlic ingestion. The health benefits of garlic are associated with the antioxidant activity of these organosulfur compounds.