Spice constituents e.g., Carvacrol in Oregano, Thymol in Ajowan, Zingerone from
Ginger and Curcuminoids from Turmeric are all important nutraceuticals. They
possess significant anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic
properties. However, being lipophilic, these molecules per se have little solubility in
aqueous systems. It was envisaged that covalent binding of these lipophilic molecules to
compounds like sugars or amino acids could impart the desired solubility characteristics
to these molecules. Accordingly, monosaccharide derivatives of curcumin, carvacrol
and thymol have been synthesized by glycosylation approaches and their bio-active
characteristics investigated. Also, several novel amino acid conjugates of curcumin
and tetrahydrocurcumin have been prepared. It was observed that conjugation of the
phenolic group of these molecules to a sugar or amino acid moiety rendered them
water-soluble whilst retaining/enhancing many of their antioxidant, anti-mutagenic
and antimicrobial attributes. Another interesting class of derivatives prepared was
the quinoline derivatives of tetrahydrocrucmin and zingerone via trifluoroacetic acid
catalyzed Friedlander reaction with acetophenone and substituted benzophenones.
A brief account of the different synthetic approaches to the various novel derivatives
of these important nutraceuticals and the effect of such derivatization steps on their
bioactive attributes would be presented.
Pullabhatla Srinivas is currently the Head of Plantation Products, Spices and Flavour Technology
Department of Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) at Mysore, India. He has over
thirty years R & D experience in the area of Spices, Herbs, Plantation Products and Natural Colors.
His Research Interests include isolation, analysis and synthesis of flavour chemicals & important food
additives. His recent studies have laid special emphasis on isolation of nutraceutical constituents from
spices, herbs and plantation products, their derivatization and determination of their bioactive attributes.
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