Bactericidal activity of curcumin I is associated with damaging of bacterial membrane.
PLoS One. 2015 ;10(3):e0121313. Epub 2015 Mar 26. PMID: 25811596
Curcumin, an important constituent of turmeric, is known for various biological activities, primarily due to its antioxidant mechanism. The present study focused on the antibacterial activity of curcumin I, a significant component of commercial curcumin, against four genera of bacteria, including those that are Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis) and Gram-negative (Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa). These represent prominent human pathogens, particularly in hospital settings. Our study shows the strong antibacterial potential of curcumin I against all the tested bacteria from Gram-positive as well as Gram-negative groups. The integrity of the bacterial membrane was checked using two differential permeabilization indicating fluorescent probes, namely, propidium iodide and calcein. Both the membrane permeabilization assays confirmed membrane leakage in Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria on exposure to curcumin I. In addition, scanning electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy were employed to confirm the membrane damages in bacterial cells on exposure to curcumin I. The present study confirms the broad-spectrum antibacterial nature of curcumin I, and its membrane damaging property. Findings from this study could provide impetus for further research on curcumin I regarding its antibiotic potential against rapidly emerging bacterial pathogens.