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Stranger than Fiction

Bacteria is the key to a good cup of tea

Published:Thursday | February 22, 2024 | 7:12 AMBANG Bizarre

New research in China suggests that the secret to making a delicious cuppa is held in a collection of microbes that are found on the roots of tea plants.

The microbes work together to increase the production of the amino acid theanine, the main component responsible for the taste of tea.

Wenxin Tang, of the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, explained: "The initial expectation for the synthetic microbial community derived from high-quality tea plant roots was to enhance the quality of low-quality tea plants.

"However, to our astonishment, we discovered that the synthetic microbial community not only enhances the quality of low-quality tea plants but also exerts a significant promoting effect on certain high-quality tea varieties.

"Furthermore, this effect is particularly pronounced in low-nitrogen soil conditions."

The team argues that focusing on the microbial communities could be a better method of creating a nice cup of tea than genetically modifying tea plants.


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