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J Chromatogr A. 2006 Sep 1;1125(2):204-10. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

Bioassay-guided purification and identification of antimicrobial components in Chinese green tea extract.

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  • 1Food Research Program, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph, Ont. N1G 5C9, Canada.


The Chinese green tea extract was found to strongly inhibit the growth of major food-borne pathogens, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium DT104, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and a diarrhoea food-poisoning pathogen Bacillus cereus, by 44-100% with the highest activity found against S. aureus and lowest against E. coli O157:H7. A bioassay-guided fractionation technique was used for identifying the principal active component. A simple and efficient reversed-phase high-speed counter-current chromatography (HSCCC) method was developed for the separation and purification of four bioactive polyphenol compounds, epicatechin gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epicatechin (EC), and caffeine (CN). The structures of these polyphenols were confirmed with mass spectrometry. Among the four compounds, ECG and EGCG were the most active, particularly EGCG against S. aureus. EGCG had the lowest MIC90 values against S. aureus (MSSA) (58 mg/L) and its methicilin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) (37 mg/L). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) studies showed that these two compounds altered bacterial cell morphology, which might have resulted from disturbed cell division. This study demonstrated a direct link between the antimicrobial activity of tea and its specific polyphenolic compositions. The activity of tea polyphenols, particularly EGCG on antibiotics-resistant strains of S. aureus, suggests that these compounds are potential natural alternatives for the control of bovine mastitis and food poisoning caused by S. aureus.

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