New antibiotics from coffee
New antibiotics from coffee

Tapan Susheel TNN

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT-R) have discovered that a natural compound found in many plant species including coffee has antibacterial properties and may lead to a new class of antibiotics. The peer-reviewed study on antibacterial properties of chlorogenic acid was published in journal Nature last year.

Associate professor Pravindra Kumar at the biotechnology department who led the study said that the team used x-ray crystallography techniques to examine various metabolic pathways in a soil bacteria. The team found that this compound binds to an enzyme (chorismate mutase) in the ‘shikimate pathway’. The pathway is responsible for the synthesis of aromatic amino acids in microorganisms and is an attractive target for antimicrobial drugs. Researchers said that since the compound binds itself to the enzyme in the pathway, it could be used to inhibit growth of the bacteria. Kumar said, “In the study, we identified a compound which could aid in development of new generation of antibiotics. We have successfully established the antibacterial properties of chlorogenic acid. The structural blueprints obtained from this study can help produce a new class of antibiotics in order to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria.”

The study said that tweaking the chemical structure of chlorogenic acid could make it a potent inhibitor of bacteria. The compound also showed positive results against different bacterial strains in the laboratory.

Kumar added, “Antibiotics are essential to clinical healthcare and provide a vital shield against a variety of pathogenic bacteria. But their widespread misuse and improper clinical handling has led to emergence of drug resistance among pathogenic bacteria. This has led to an increase in the number of untreatable bacterial infections. Despite this, no new antibiotic has been discovered for many years.”

Reference- Sunday Times of India, Dated 25.02.18

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