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J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Mar 9;59(5):2056-61. doi: 10.1021/jf104402t. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

Curcumin nanoparticles: preparation, characterization, and antimicrobial study.

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Amity Institute of Advanced Research and Studies, and ‡Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Amity University , Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201 301, India.


Curcumin is a highly potent, nontoxic, bioactive agent found in turmeric and has been known for centuries as a household remedy to many ailments. The only disadvantage that it suffers is of low aqueous solubility and poor bioavailability. The aim of the present study was to develop a method for the preparation of nanoparticles of curcumin with a view to improve its aqueous-phase solubility and examine the effect on its antimicrobial properties. Nanoparticles of curcumin (nanocurcumin) were prepared by a process based on a wet-milling technique and were found to have a narrow particle size distribution in the range of 2-40 nm. Unlike curcumin, nanocurcumin was found to be freely dispersible in water in the absence of any surfactants. The chemical structure of nanocurcumin was the same as that of curcumin, and there was no modification during nanoparticle preparation. A minimum inhibitory concentration of nanocurcumin was determined for a variety of bacterial and fungal strains and was compared to that of curcumin. It was found that the aqueous dispersion of nanocurcumin was much more effective than curcumin against Staphylococcus aureus , Bacillus subtilis , Escherichia coli , Pseudomonas aeruginosa , Penicillium notatum , and Aspergillus niger . The results demonstrated that the water solubility and antimicrobial activity of curcumin markedly improved by particle size reduction up to the nano range. For the selected microorganisms, the activity of nanocurcumin was more pronounced against Gram-positive bacteria than Gram-negative bacteria. Furthermore, its antibacterial activity was much better than antifungal activity. The mechanism of antibacterial action of curcumin nanoparticles was investigated by transmission electron micrograph (TEM) analysis, which revealed that these particles entered inside the bacterial cell by completely breaking the cell wall, leading to cell death.

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