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Nice cup of tea to beat bioterrorists? Tea ingredients can kill micro-organisms and inactivate toxins, expert says

Date:
August 8, 2012
Source:
University of Greenwich
Summary:
New research has revealed that a nice cup of tea could hold the solution to a range of deadly weapons in the bioterrorist’s arsenal.

Dr Simon Richardson, Senior Lecturer in Biopharmaceutical Sciences, University of Greenwich
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Greenwich

New research has revealed that a nice cup of tea could hold the solution to a range of deadly weapons in the bioterrorist's arsenal.

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As well as being the UK's favorite drink, research has shown that the morning brew has the ability to kill micro-organisms and inactivate toxins.

Dr Simon Richardson, Senior Lecturer in Biopharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Greenwich's School of Science, is part of a team of researchers who have discovered that a principal component of black tea can neutralize ricin, a highly toxic substance which has been at the center of a number of attempted terrorist attacks.

Dr Richardson says: "One cup of char won't cure you if you have been poisoned, but compounds extracted from tea could, with further research, provide an antidote to poisoning following a terrorist attack. I've been working on neutralizing ricin poisoning for about six years as a by-product of my work in drug delivery. Professor Les Baillie from Cardiff University is leading this project, which is in its preliminary stages but there is real progress! The next stage, as well as securing more funding, is seeing if other components of tea have a greater effect."

Ricin was the poison used to kill the Bulgarian dissident Georgie Markov on Westminster bridge in 1978 after a small pellet containing the poison was fired out of what was thought to be a modified umbrella.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Greenwich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Greenwich. "Nice cup of tea to beat bioterrorists? Tea ingredients can kill micro-organisms and inactivate toxins, expert says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808093813.htm>.
University of Greenwich. (2012, August 8). Nice cup of tea to beat bioterrorists? Tea ingredients can kill micro-organisms and inactivate toxins, expert says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808093813.htm
University of Greenwich. "Nice cup of tea to beat bioterrorists? Tea ingredients can kill micro-organisms and inactivate toxins, expert says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808093813.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

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