The Allium Research Group

Onion and Garlic Research at the University of  Liverpool







Allium sativum garlic in tissue culture Onions (Allium cepa)  varieties have different colours Wild garlic (ransoms) Allium ursinum

Onion and garlic are known for their flavour and valued in food and as pharmaceuticals. The flavours are created by a family of flavour precursors (alkyl cysteine sulphoxides) synthesised within the plant cells. An enzyme (alliinase) cleaves them to form volatile flavour compounds. A particular mixture of flavour precursors gives rise to the characteristic smells of each member of the onion family. Despite this apparent simplicity, there are many unanswered questions about flavour in these plants.

Our research brings together expertise in molecular biology, secondary metabolism, plant pathology and tissue culture. Our current work focuses on three aspects of onions and garlic:

You can read about our involvement in a project that has led to production and marketing of the Supasweet onion in the UK and an article for schools about onion flavour Onions - Sweet not Smelly!

For an update on onion marketing in the UK and a more technical account of onion flavour, see Knowing your Alliums.

Group Leaders:

Research into Allium flavour at Liverpool is led by Dr Meriel G Jones.

You can contact us by email

For the Home page of the School of Biological Sciences and the University of Liverpool, click on the links below: