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Google Doodle honors pioneering green tea chemist Michiyo Tsujimura

The Japanese scientist's groundbreaking research led to her becoming the first woman in Japan to earn a doctorate in agriculture.

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Michiyo Tsujimura performed extensive research on the components of green tea.

Google

If you enjoy the taste of green tea, as well as appreciate its nutritional benefits, you might like to know about Michiyo Tsujimura.

Tsujimura was a Japanese agricultural scientist and biochemist whose groundbreaking research on the components of green tea earned her the first doctoral degree in agriculture conferred on a woman in Japan. To honor her achievements, Google on Friday will dedicate its Doodle to Tsujimura on her 133rd birthday.

Born in what is now Okegawa, Japan, on Sept. 17, 1888, Tsujimura spent her early career teaching science at a women's high school. In 1920, she turned her focus to becoming a scientific researcher, joining Hokkaido Imperial University as an unpaid lab assistant, as the school didn't yet admit female students.

Her work initially focused on the nutrition of silkworms, but she transferred to Tokyo Imperial University in 1922 to research the biochemistry of green tea alongside Dr. Umetaro Suzuki, an early researcher of vitamins.

Two years later, she and colleague Seitaro Miura discovered vitamin C in green tea, which led to an increase in green tea exports to North America. Five years later, she isolated catechin, which provides the bitter taste in green tea. The next year, she'd go on to extract tannin in crystal form from green tea.

Her thesis on the constituents of green tea earned her a doctorate in agriculture from Tokyo Imperial University in 1932. She continued on to become a professor and lecturer at various schools and universities before being awarded the Japan Prize of Agricultural Science in 1956 for her research into green tea.

Tsujimura died in 1969 at the age of 81.