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J Food Sci. 2011 Nov-Dec;76(9):H226-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02427.x.

Essential oil of Curcuma longa inhibits Streptococcus mutans biofilm formation.

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Dept. of Pedodontics, School of Dentistry, Wonkwang Univ., Iksan, South Korea.


Curcuma longa (C. longa) has been used as a spice in foods and as an antimicrobial in Oriental medicine. In this study, we evaluated the inhibitory effects of an essential oil isolated from C. longa on the cariogenic properties of Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), which is an important bacterium in dental plaque and dental caries formation. First, the inhibitory effects of C. longa essential oil on the growth and acid production of S. mutans were tested. Next, the effect of C. longa essential oil on adhesion to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite beads (S-HAs) was investigated. C. longa essential oil inhibited the growth and acid production of S. mutans at concentrations from 0.5 to 4 mg/mL. The essential oil also exhibited significant inhibition of S. mutans adherence to S-HAs at concentrations higher than 0.5 mg/mL. S. mutans biofilm formation was determined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and safranin staining. The essential oil of C. longa inhibited the formation of S. mutans biofilms at concentrations higher than 0.5 mg/mL. The components of C. longa essential oil were then analyzed by GC and GC-MS, and the major components were α-turmerone (35.59%), germacrone (19.02%), α-zingiberene (8.74%), αr-turmerone (6.31%), trans-β-elemenone (5.65%), curlone (5.45%), and β-sesquiphellandrene (4.73%). These results suggest that C. longa may inhibit the cariogenic properties of S. mutans.

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