Solubilization and stabilization from rapid degradation by the use of nanocarriers are necessary to exploit curcumin’s phototoxic potential towards pathogenic bacteria. However, maintenance of the phototoxicity requires a careful selection of type and amount of nanocarrier. The phototoxicity of an aqueous supersaturated curcumin solution without nanocarrier was compared to that of curcumin solubilized in polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG 400), Pluronic® F 127 (F 127) and hydroxypropyl-γ-cyclodextrin (HPγCD) on Staphylococcus (S.) epidermidis biofilms and suspensions. The nanocarriers stabilized the hydrophobic photosensitizer (PS) towards physical precipitation and hydrolytic degradation; however, photobleaching was pronounced (46–100% degradation) after irradiation with a dose of ∼9 J/cm2 blue light depending on selected nanocarrier. Complete inactivation of S. epidermidis in suspension was achieved after exposure of ∼5 J/cm2 combined with curcumin in 20% PEG 400 and 0.5% HPγCD and less than 1 J/cm2 light in case of a supersaturated curcumin solution. Curcumin in 1.5% F 127 induced phototoxicity towards bacterial biofilms; however, it was not phototoxic towards planktonic S. epidermidis. All curcumin preparations investigated demonstrated significant and similar phototoxicity towards biofilms (13–29% bacterial survival). A ∼9 J/cm2 light dose was not sufficient to eradicate S. epidermidis biofilm completely under the current conditions.

Photoinactivation of Stahpylococcus epidermidis biofilms and suspensions by the hydrophobic photosensitizer curcumin- effect of selected nanocarrier Studies of curcumin and curcuminoides XLVII
Hegge AB, Bruzell E, Kristensen S, Tønnesen HH.
Eur J of Pharma Sci. 2012 Aug 30;47(1):65–74.
doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 May 17.