Stability of curcumin in buffer solutions and characterization of its degradation products

J Pharm Biomed Anal. 1997 Aug;15(12):1867-76. doi: 10.1016/s0731-7085(96)02024-9.


The degradation kinetics of curcumin under various pH conditions and the stability of curcumin in physiological matrices were investigated. When curcumin was incubated in 0.1 M phosphate buffer and serum-free medium, pH 7.2 at 37 degrees C, about 90% decomposed within 30 min. A series of pH conditions ranging from 3 to 10 were tested and the result showed that decomposition was pH-dependent and occurred faster at neutral-basic conditions. It is more stable in cell culture medium containing 10% fetal calf serum and in human blood; less than 20% of curcumin decomposed within 1 h, and after incubation for 8 h, about 50% of curcumin is still remained. Trans-6-(4'-hydroxy-3'-methoxyphenyl)-2,4-dioxo-5-hexenal was predicted as major degradation product and vanillin, ferulic acid, feruloyl methane were identified as minor degradation products. The amount of vanillin increased with incubation time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Buffers
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Culture Media
  • Curcumin / chemistry*
  • Drug Stability
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics


  • Antioxidants
  • Buffers
  • Culture Media
  • Curcumin