Sunday, 22 March 2020

Antioxidant in green tea could help fight TB

An antioxidant found in green tea plant could help in fighting tuberculosis. The compound is epigallocatechin gallate and it can inhibit the growth of a tuberculosis-causing bacteria strain. This may pave the way for the development of novel drugs.

The development comes from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Singapore), where scientists have demonstrated that the antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate can inhibit the growth of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The researchers have shown that the compound binds to an enzyme (ATP synthase) that provides energy to bacterial cells. When pigallocatechin gallate becomes attached to the enzyme, the available energy for critical processes required for bacterial cell division is reduced, leading to inhibition.

Tuberculosis is one of the most widespread bacterial diseases on the planet. It is an infection that has plagued humans for over millennia. Symptoms of infection from this bacterial disease include a chronic cough with blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss.

Although global health efforts are proving effective and the incidence of the tuberculosis are falling, based on World Health Organization data, drug-resistant tuberculosis is becoming a global problem.

In terms of the significance of the research, if it can be determined areas on the enzyme where the compound binds and dampens energy production, then it could be possible to develop a drug product to help fight the bacteria and prevent the course of an infection in a patient.

Speaking with Laboratory Roots, lead researcher Professor Gerhard Grüber says: "Though tuberculosis is curable, the success of current drugs on the market is increasingly being overshadowed by the bacteria's clinical resistance. Our discovery of the EGCG's ability to inhibit the growth of M. tuberculosis will allow us to look at how we can improve the potency of this compound in green tea, and other similar compounds, to develop new drugs to tackle this airborne disease."

The research has been published in the journal Scientific Reports. The research paper is titled "Disrupting coupling within mycobacterial F-ATP synthases subunit ε causes dysregulated energy production and cell wall biosynthesis."

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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