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Antioxidant in green tea could help fight TB

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.

Further details about the study are shown in the following video:

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.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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