A compound found in green tea, EGCG, which is a health-boosting antioxidant, works to kill bacteria

Antibiotics from green tea

Researchers from Slovenia have used NMR spectroscopy to home in on the ATP-binding site of the bacterial enzyme DNA gyrase. They say they now understand more clearly the nature of the interaction of this active site with EGCG, an extract of green tea thought to endow the drink with its health benefits, including antibacterial activity. Claims for the health benefits of green, unfermented, tea ( Camellia sinensis) have been made for centuries, and are particularly apparent in Asian cultures. An ancient Chinese proverb says: "Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one". Tea perhaps evolved as a way to ensure a pure disease-free water supply. The boiling process killing pathogens and the congeners provide colour and flavour. Among those congeners are the catechins, a group of polyphenolic plant metabolites. A single cup of green tea can contain up to 200 milligrams of catechins. The biological activity of these compounds has been attributed primarily to their antioxidant properties until recently. However, green tea extract has been used in oral hygiene for centuries and suggests that green tea may have antibacterial activity too. Now, Roman Jerala and colleagues at the National institute of Chemistry in Ljubljana, Slovenia, have homed in on this antibacterial potential and looked closely at the properties of the major catechin found in green tea, EGCG, epigallocatechin gallate.

Source: spectroscopynow.comAdded: 9 February 2007