Green tea extracts (GTEs) as well as their main component, the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), are known for their versatile antioxidant, antimicrobial, antitumoral or anti-inflammatory effects. In spite of the huge beneficial action, there is increasing evidence that under certain conditions green tea and its components can be detrimental to living organisms. Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains with various defects in the response to oxidative stress, we found that GTEs or EGCG act in synergy with visible light, exhibiting either deleterious or protective effects depending on the solvent employed. Similar synergistic effects could be observed under singlet oxygen-generating conditions, such as light exposure in the presence of photosensitizers or UV-A irradiation, therefore solvent variance may represent a powerful tool to modulate the preparation of green tea extracts, depending on the intended target.
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