Sarah Bergman ’18

Project TitleCurcumin Enhances T2 Bacteriophage Yield in E. coli
Mentor – Gerald Goldstein

It has been demonstrated that turmeric and curcumin, a chemical present in turmeric, have anti-bacterial activity and anti-viral activity for viruses of humans. We investigated the effect of curcumin on the replication of T2 bacteriophage in E. coli. Concentrations of purified curcumin from 5 μg/ml to 40 μg/ml have no effect on the replication of E. coli bacteria cultured in Luria-Bertani broth. Increasing concentrations of curcumin enhance the replication of T2 bacteriophage in E. coli cells. E. coli cells treated with purified curcumin at a concentration of  40 μg/ml enhance T2 bacteriophage replication to 313% of the control culture. The earlier curcumin was added to the E. coli cells before infection, the greater was the enhancement of the T2 bacteriophage yield, suggesting that curcumin stimulates the metabolism of bacteriophage replication and not the assembly of bacteriophage particles. The addition of glucose to E. coli cultures infected with T2 bacteriophage caused an increase in the yield of the T2 bacteriophage.  At 0.25% glucose, the T2 bacteriophage yield was 158.4% of the control. Adding increasing amounts of glucose to E. coli cultures treated with curcumin and then infected with T2 bacteriophage caused a decrease in the bacteriophage yield. At a concentration of 0.3% glucose, the T2 bacteriophage yield decreased from 566% of the control to 130% of the control. These results suggest that curcumin stimulation of T2 bacteriophage yield is the result of the stimulation of adenylate cyclase enzyme activity and cAMP production by E. coli cells.