Bioassay-guided fractionation of Curcuma longa by solvent partitioning and purification with octadecylsilane open column chromatography yielded a partial purification. The active 80% methanol chromatographic fraction from the ethyl acetate layer [partial purification from C. longa (PPC)] was used to investigate the alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH)-stimulated melanogenesis signal pathway in B16F10 cells. In cells stimulated alpha-MSH, PPC inhibited cellular melanin contents, tyrosinase activity and expression of melanogenesis-related proteins including microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), tyrosinase and tyrosinase-related proteins (TRP). Melanogenesis-regulating signalling such as mitogen-activated protein kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt was activated by PPC in alpha-MSH-stimulated B16F10 cells. The suppressive activity of PPC on alpha-MSH-induced melanogenesis was abrogated by selective inhibition of MEK/ERK (PD98059) and PI3K (LY294002). MEK/ERK or Akt activation by PPC may contribute to reduced melanin synthesis via MITF and its downstream signal pathway including tyrosinase and TRPs in alpha-MSH-induced melanogenesis.