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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Antimutagenic and anticancer activity of Darjeeling tea in multiple test systems

Udayan Bhattacharya1, Shanta Adak2, Niladri Shekhar Majumder1, Biswajit Bera3 and Ashok K Giri1*

Author Affiliations

1 Molecular and Human Genetics Division, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, 4, Raja S. C. Mullick Road, Jadavpur, 700 032 Kolkata, India

2 Department of Zoology, Seth Anandram Jaipuria College, Kolkata, India

3 Tea Board, Kolkata, India

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:327  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-327

Published: 2 September 2014



Darjeeling tea, a most popular variety of black tea, though consumed by the people in different parts of world but its beneficial health effects have not been investigated in details. In this study, the antimutagenic and anticancer effect of Darjeeling tea extract (DTE) has been evaluated.


Antimutagenic activity of the DTE was carried out in two different strains of Salmonella typhimurium by AMES test against a known mutagen benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) with S9 activation. Moreover, anticlastogenic property of DTE was also measured by micronuclei formation (MN) against B[a]P with S9 activation in human lymphocytes. The anticancer activity of the same was studied on U937 cell line. Here, Human PBMCs were used as the normal cell control to identify selective anticancer activity of the extract against U937 cells.


The results showed significant antimutagenic activity on bacterial strains. A significant decrease in MN was also observed in the DTE treated human lymphocyte cultures pretreated with B[a]P when compared with B[a]P treated cultures alone. The study clearly exhibited anticancer activity of the extract on U937 cell line. Further studies also revealed that apoptosis induction is an important mechanism behind the anticancer effect of DTE.


Overall, this study indicates that DTE has significant antimutagenic and anticancer activities on bacterial and mammalian cells respectively.

Darjeeling tea; Antimutagenic; Anticancer; Apoptosis