Studies on curcumin and curcuminoids. IX: Investigation of the photobiological activity of curcumin using bacterial indicator systems

J Pharm Sci. 1987 May;76(5):371-3. doi: 10.1002/jps.2600760506.


The dye curcumin is a natural, nontoxic food constituent. On irradiation with visible light, curcumin proves to be phototoxic for Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli, even at very low concentrations. The observed phototoxicity makes curcumin a potential photosensitizing drug which might find application in the phototherapy of, for example, psoriasis, cancer, and bacterial and viral diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Catechols / pharmacology*
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Curcumin / radiation effects
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use
  • DNA, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hydrolysis
  • Light*
  • Photochemotherapy
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics


  • Catechols
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Curcumin