Curcumin suppresses Streptococcus mutans adherence to human tooth surfaces and extracellular matrix proteins

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Jul;31(7):1347-52. doi: 10.1007/s10096-011-1448-y. Epub 2011 Oct 19.


Streptococcus mutans is the key causative agent of caries and infective endocarditis. The first step in biofilm development and the consequent initiation of further disease is bacterial adherence to host cell surfaces. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the inhibitory effect of curcumin on S. mutans adherence to extracellular matrices and tooth surfaces. The effect of curcumin on the ability of S. mutans to adhere to glass surfaces coated with collagen and fibronectin was tested in order to determine whether the decrease of the bacterial adhesion by curcumin is achieved by hindering the bacteria in adhering to collagen and/or fibronectin. Also, human teeth inoculated with S. mutans were treated with curcumin in vitro in order to assess the relevance of the anti-adhesive effect to oral conditions in vivo. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) at which curcumin completely inhibited bacterial growth was 128 μg/mL. The addition of curcumin below the MIC diminished bacterial adherence onto both collagen- and fibronectin-coated glass surfaces and human tooth surfaces. It appears that the anti-adhesive effect of curcumin against S. mutans is mediated through collagen and fibronectin. These results support the widespread use of curcumin as a food-based antimicrobial agent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects*
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Streptococcus mutans / drug effects*
  • Streptococcus mutans / physiology*
  • Tooth / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Curcumin