Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Arch Microbiol. 1989;151(2):183-5.

Photokilling of bacteria by the natural dye curcumin.

Author information

  • 1Center for Photochemical Sciences, Bowling Green State University, OH 43403.


Curcumin is a yellow-orange compound derived from the root of Curcuma longa (Zingiberaceae family), that has been used as a medicine, spice and coloring agent. Curcumin has proved nontoxic in a number of cell culture and whole animal studies. Curcumin has, however, been reported to have bactericidal effects at very high concentrations. When illuminated, curcumin exerted potent phototoxic effects in micromolar amounts. Gram-negative bacteria displayed greater resistance to curcumin phototoxicity relative to Gram-positive bacteria. Oxygen was required for curcumin phototoxicity. Curcumin binding to cells was not required for photokilling; the reactive intermediate therefore must be relatively long-lived. The mechanism(s) of curcumin phototoxicity may involve hydrogen peroxide production. Singlet excited oxygen was not detected.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

LinkOut - more resources

Molecular Biology Databases

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk