Effect of pH on the antibacterial properties of turmeric

(1) William Mason High School, Mason, Ohio, (2) Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Cover photo for Effect of pH on the antibacterial properties of turmeric

Some spices have antimicrobial or antibacterial properties that people have already tested. For example, turmeric is a spice in the ginger family that has been shown to reduce bacterial growth. Turmeric has a wide variety of uses and has even been implemented in alternative medicine as a treatment for cancer, inflammation, osteoarthritis, and other diseases. The chemical properties of turmeric often changes depending on the temperature and pH, which could influence the efficacy of turmeric as an antibiotic. Thus, we tested the antimicrobial effects of turmeric under two different pHs to characterize this effect in vitro. While all turmeric treatments decreased bacterial growth, the acidic treatment appeared to have the strongest effect on inhibiting the growth of cultured bacteria. In conclusion, decreasing the pH of a solution of turmeric may increase antibacterial properties, an effect that should be studied further to better understand any potential antibacterial treatments.

Download Full Article as PDF