Isolation and Chemical Properties of Curcumin

The major curcuminoids present in turmeric are demethoxycurcumin (curcumin II), bisdemethoxycurcumin (curcumin III), and the recently identified cyclocurcumin [5]. Commercial curcumin contains curcumin I (~77%), curcumin II (~17%), and curcumin III (~3%) as its major components. Spectrophotometrically, curcumin has a maximum absorption (Xmax) in methanol at 430 nm, with a Beer's law range from 0.5 to 5 |g/mL [6]. It absorbs maximally at 415 to 420 nm in acetone, and a 1% solution of curcumin has 1650 absorbance units. Curcumin has a brilliant yellow hue at pH 2.5 to 7 and takes on a red hue at pH > 7. The spectral and photochemical properties of curcumin have been studied in different solvents by Chignell and coworkers [7]. In toluene, the absorption spectrum of curcumin contains some structure, which disappears in more polar solvents such as ethanol and acetonitrile. Curcumin is also reported to be able to photogenerate superoxide in toluene and ethanol [7].

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