The biological action of water extract of pu-erh tea (WEPT) was evaluated by Salmonella mutagenesis assay and bacteria test. Like green tea, oolong tea and black tea, WEPT showed neither cytotoxicity and nor mutagenicity toward Salmonella typhimurium TA98 and TA100 with or without S9 mix (an external metabolic activation system). WEPT at 0.5–5 mg/plate expressed a dose-dependent inhibitory effect against both the mutagenicity of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), an indirect mutagen which requires metabolic activation, and 4-nitroquinoline-N-oxide (NQNO), a direct mutagen, in Salmonella typhimurium TA98 and TA100. In general, the antimutagenic activity of WEPT against AFB1 and NQNO was weaker than other tea extract because of the least amount of total catechin in WEPT. For antimicrobial action, WEPT, green tea, oolong tea and black tea at 2.0 mg/ml showed inhibitory effect on growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis, but no effect on Escherchia coli. Obviously, WEPT has potential antimicrobial effect on gram-positive Staphylcoccus aureus and B. subtilis than that of gram-negative E. coli. In addition, caffeine and epicatechin (EC), main polyphenolic compounds in WEPT, showed both antimutagenic and antimicrobial effect against strains mentioned above, which may partially account for the antimutagenic and antimicrobial action of pu-erh tea.
LWT - Food Science and Technology 40(3)： p.506-512