Synergistic deciphering of bioenergy production and electron transport characteristics to screen traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for COVID-19 drug development

Po Wei Tsai, Cheng Yang Hsieh, Jasmine U. Ting, Yi Ru Ciou, Chia Jung Lee, Chieh Lun Hsieh, Tzu Kuan Lien, Chung Chuan Hsueh, Bor Yann Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been used as an "immune booster” for disease prevention and clinical treatment since ancient China. However, many studies were focused on the organic herbal extract rather than aqueous herbal extract (AHE; decoction). Due to the COVID-19 pandemics, this study tended to decipher phytochemical contents in the decoction of herbs and derived bioactivities (e.g., anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties). As prior works revealed, the efficacy of Parkinson's medicines and antiviral flavonoid herbs was strongly governed by their bioenergy-stimulating proficiency. Methods: Herbal extracts were prepared by using a traditional Chinese decoction pot. After filtration and evaporation, crude extracts were used to prepare sample solutions for various bioassays. The phytochemical content and bioactivities of AHEs were determined via ELISA microplate reader. Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) were used as a novel platform to evaluate bioenergy contents with electron-transfer characteristics for antiviral drug development. Significant findings: Regarding 18 TCM herbal extracts for the prevention of SARS and H1N1 influenza, comparison on total polyphenol, flavonoid, condensed tannins and polysaccharides were conducted. Moreover, considerable total flavonoid contents were detected for 11 herb extracts. These AEHs were not only rich in phytonutrient contents but also plentiful in anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Herbs with high polyphenol content had higher antioxidant activity. Forsythia suspensa extract expressed the highest inhibition against nitric oxide production for anti-inflammation. MFC bioenergy-stimulating studies also revealed that top ranking COVID-19 efficacious herbs were both bioenergy driven and electron mediated. That is, electron transfer-controlled bioenergy extraction was significant to antiviral characteristics for anti-COVID-19 drug development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104365
JournalJournal of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Bioenergy extraction
  • COVID-19
  • Electron transfer
  • Forsythia suspensa
  • Microbial fuel cells
  • Traditional Chinese medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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