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Food Funct. 2015 Mar;6(3):887-93. doi: 10.1039/c4fo00790e.

Thermal stability, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin and its degradation product 4-vinyl guaiacol.

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Institute of Human Nutrition and Food Science, University of Kiel, Germany.


Curcumin is a secondary plant metabolite present in Curcuma longa L. Since curcumin is widely used as a food colorant in thermally processed food it may undergo substantial chemical changes which in turn could affect its biological activity. In the current study, curcumin was roasted at 180 °C up to 70 minutes and its kinetic of degradation was analyzed by means of HPLC-PDA and LC-MS, respectively. Roasting of curcumin resulted in the formation of the degradation products vanillin, ferulic acid, and 4-vinyl guaiacol. In cultured hepatocytes roasted curcumin as well as 4-vinyl guaiacol enhanced the transactivation of the redox-regulated transcription factor Nrf2, known to be centrally involved in cellular stress response and antioxidant defense mechanisms. The antioxidant enzyme paraoxonase 1 was induced by roasted curcumin and 4-vinyl guaiacol. Furthermore, roasted curcumin and 4-vinyl guaiacol decreased interleukin-6 gene expression in lipopolysaccharide stimulated murine macrophages. Current data suggest that curcumin undergoes degradation due to roasting and its degradation product exhibit significant biological activity in cultured cells.

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