Natural deep eutectic solvents (NADES) are a novel class of eutectics which show a unique potential as solubilizer of water insoluble compounds. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the potential of NADES as a solvent for the hydrophobic photosensitizer curcumin for use in antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT). Two of the seventeen NADES initially prepared (i.e., NADES GS and MC3) solubilized >0.05mg/ml curcumin and were further characterized. The hydrolytic stability (i.e., t1/2) of curcumin in NADES was comparable to or up to 2-10 times higher than previously reported results in cyclodextrins and up to >1300 times higher than results reported in buffer at pH8. The photolytic stability increased by a factor 5.6-10 in GS compared to the most photostable cyclodextrin and surfactant preparations reported previously. This NADES seemed to lock curcumin in its colorless diketo conformer, resulting in higher photostability than in ethanol and in the NADES MC3. The curcumin-NADES preparations dissolved rapidly in aqueous media and formed supersaturated solutions of curcumin. Precipitation of curcumin was observed after ≤1h depending on the dilution factor (pH<8). The NADES MC3 containing curcumin photoinactivated Escherichia coli at a lower curcumin concentration (1.25μM) than in any previously investigated preparations of curcumin. The ability of NADES to lock curcumin within one specific molecular conformation and also to potentiate the phototoxic effect of this photosensitizer emphasizes the unique properties of the NADES as a solvent. .

Characterization and antimicrobial phototoxicity of curcumin dissolved in natural deep eutectic solvents.
Wikene KO, Bruzell E, Tønnesen HH
European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 2015; 80: 26-32.
doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2015.09.013.