Antimicrobial activity is one of the well-known biological characteristics of catechins, the main extract of green tea leaves. It is thought that catechins intercalate into the bacterial cell membrane and damage the lipid bilayer. However, the association between catechins and lipopolysaccharides, which consist of an O side chain, core oligosaccharide, and lipid A, has not been previously investigated. In this study, we evaluated the catechin sensitivity of Salmonella enterica mutants that lack the O side chain and have core oligosaccharides of different lengths. These rough mutants were more sensitive to catechins than a bacterial strain with intact lipopolysaccharide. We conclude that the O side chain and core oligosaccharide play an important role in protecting Gram-negative bacteria against the antimicrobial activity of catechins.
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