Turmeric’s compound spices up an antimicrobial surface

June 26, 2017: Curcumin, an important compound of the indian spice turmeric, and which gives it its bright yellow color, has some antimicrobial properties.

Researchers are now trying to find out if curcumin can create a food-safe antibacterial surface.

Curcumin can kill bacteria on contact as it is packaged inside nanosized vesicles attached to glass. This research can be very beneficial as it can be used to prevent contamination during food preparation.

Products made with antimicrobial materials can be used to kill bacteria which can help the food industry immensely.

Escherichia coli, for example, from a piece of lettuce can contaminate the next piece of lettuce when on contact. Yet the germicides now laced inside fabrics or plastics, silver particles, synthetic polymers, or ammonium salts, are not yet recognized as safe for surfaces where food is prepared.

So researcher at Southern Illinois University (SIU), Carbondale, tried to create an antibacterial surface from food-grade materials.

Nanovesicles that house curcumin turn glass into an antibacterial surface. The curcumin is found inside a bilayer of diacetylene fatty acids and phospholipid molecules. Glucose molecules usually stick to passing bacteria and expose them to the curcumin. N-hydroxysuccinimide groups link the nanovesicles to the glass.

The researchers screened 11 natural food compounds that have antimicrobial properties, including hydroxytyrosol from olives, resveratrol from grapes,, and curcumin. In their tests, curcumin was the best at curbing E. coli growth.

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