University of Illinois at Chicago
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Colors of Curcuma

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posted on 2019-07-30, 00:00 authored by Rasika S. Phansalkar, Karina Szymulanska-Ramamurthy
Our research project was based on the isolation of curcumin (a marker compound) from the rhizomes of the plant Curcuma longa (commonly known as turmeric, a spice very often used in Asian cooking). After the extraction process, our next step was to fractionate the extract in order to isolate curcumin in its pure form. The fractions were collected into small vials following column chromatography. A class of compounds called curcuminoids is responsible for the range of colors it gives to the extracts or fractions. These marvelous little compounds showed a plethora of colours with shades of red, yellow, and orange. All of these fractions when put together looked just like a palette of colors, which might be called "Fall colors in a few vials!" or "The Shades of Sunshine!"


This exhibit competition is organized by the University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate College and the University Library.


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Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy; Honorable Mention; Copyright 2012, Rasika S. Phansalkar and Karina Szymulanska-Ramamurthy. Used with permission. For more information, contact the Graduate College at


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