Does Wasabi Kill Bacteria? (All You Need to Know)

Wasabi is Japanese horseradish, a famous condiment added to most Japanese dishes, especially sushi. While wasabi is a plant, it’s almost known as a spicy condiment that gives a kick and a hint of freshness to dishes. However, you may have encountered some people saying it kills bacteria, but does it do so, you may ask:

Does wasabi kill bacteria? Yes, wasabi kills bacteria. When prepared as a paste, wasabi provides chemical components that can kill or suppress bacteria at least. Thus, besides its smooth and clean taste, it also helps fight bacteria that may be present when you eat the raw components of Japanese dishes like sushi.

In general, wasabi makes a great condiment in Japanese dishes since it gives a smooth and clean taste that complements the raw fish and other ingredients. However, one thing to note is that adding some to your dish also helps prevent problems you can get when you eat raw food. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about wasabi and how it kills and suppresses bacteria. This way, you can learn the health benefits it provides while understanding its essence as a condiment in a Japanese dish.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Does Wasabi Kill BacteriaPin

Does wasabi disinfect and kill bacteria?

Yes, wasabi disinfects and kills bacteria. This Japanese horseradish contains several chemical mixtures such as Methlthioalkyl and Isothiocyanates, both of which help kill a variety of bacteria.

As a result, adding some to your sushi or raw fish can disinfect and kill bacteria and viruses such as E. Coli O-157 and Vibrio Parahaemolyticus, among many others.

Wasabi is also known to contain anti-microbial properties, which helps prevent sushi consumers from having problems with their health when eating the raw contents of this dish. 

Wasabi also contains a compound known as 6-Methylsulfinylhexyl Isothiocyanate, which is an anti-microbial agent that can kill bacteria like E. Coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

Does fake wasabi kill bacteria?

No, fake wasabi cannot kill bacteria. While some fake wasabi products can suppress bacteria, they are not enough to kill them. The first thing to note is that most of the wasabi pastes in the market are not made with real wasabi.

Wasabi is a spicy herb that comes from the rhizomes of the Wasabia Japonica plant, and as a result, it is pretty expensive. 

In most restaurants, the most common type of wasabi used is fake wasabi, which is a mixture of horseradish, mustard flour, cornstarch, and green food coloring added to horseradish.

Is wasabi used to kill bacteria?

No, wasabi is not used to kill bacteria. Instead, adding wasabi to sushi and other Japanese dishes adds extra flavor and complements the dish’s texture. 

However, wasabi can suppress bacteria and may even help avoid problems caused by these bacteria. 

According to German researchers, the hydrolysis of chemicals in wasabi inhibits the growth of microbes. Evidence shows that wasabi can kill various bacteria and viruses, including E. coli O-157 and Vibrio Parahaemolyticus.

How does wasabi kill bacteria?

Wasabi kills bacteria through the presence of chemical compounds that are present in it. There is a compound known as isothiocyanate, which is one of these compounds. 

The compound is responsible for the spice and sinus-clearing properties, but it also inhibits microbes. As a result of eating such foods, blood clotting, asthma, and even cancer can be treated or prevented.

Does wasabi prevent food poisoning?

Wasabi can help prevent food poisoning in some cases. However, sushi usually contains raw fish, which is why it may be prone to bacteria since the components are raw and therefore prone to contamination. 

Raw wasabi has anti-microbial properties that lower the risk of food poisoning. So it is an excellent benefit to sushi culture to have such an effect. 

The root of wasabi and the plant leaves have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria. However, this growth can cause food poisoning both in the root and the leaves.

If you’re eating sushi or anything with raw fish, adding some wasabi can help prevent food poisoning.

Does wasabi kill bacteria in sushi?

Yes, wasabi kills bacteria in sushi. But, as we mentioned earlier, wasabi kills many bacteria, even those found in raw fish. 

Even so, if you order sushi, you need to remember that it contains calories and fat from the fried tempura, cream cheese, and mayonnaise, which can add extra calories and fat to the meal.

wasabi and sushiPin

Does wasabi kill E coli?

Yes, wasabi kills E coli. According to a study, wasabi has strong antibacterial properties. As a result, it can effectively control the growth of E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus, two types of bacteria found in food that are harmful to humans.

Does wasabi help colds?

Yes, wasabi helps colds. Spicy foods can make noses run, and they can also make eyes water. Thus, you may think that eating wasabi can help alleviate colds, and it’s a correct impression.

Generally, wasabi consumption can help with colds since the spicy kick can be an effective decongestant. However, this case seems valid only when you suffer from decongestion.

Some researchers found that wasabi does not clear the sinuses. In their reports, they say that it causes a bit of congestion. 

As a result, you should consider looking for better alternatives rather than spicing it up through wasabi consumption.


In a nutshell, we can say that wasabi can kill bacteria, and it is because wasabi paste contains several chemical compounds capable of killing bacteria or suppressing them. Because of such, it is not only smooth and clean in taste but also fights bacteria that may be present in raw Japanese dishes such as sushi which may cause many health problems.

As a general rule, wasabi complements raw fish and other ingredients in Japanese dishes by giving them a smooth and clean taste. However, it would be best to remember that adding some raw vegetables to your dish will help prevent many problems associated with raw foods. 

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Image credits – Canva

[1] Antibacterial Activities of Wasabi against Escherichia coli, National Library of Medicine

[2] Antimicrobial Effect of Wasabia japonica or Wasabi on Raw Salmon in Served Sashimi at Japanese Restaurants in Medan, ResearchGate

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