Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Pete Chandrangsu

Reader 2

Jenna Monroy

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© 2019 Ashweetha A Louis


Increasing demand for alternative medical treatments in the West has generated research in ancient medical systems such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. This study examined the medicinal properties of turmeric, Curcuma longa, by exploring the effects of curcumin on biofilm formation in Bacillus subtilis. The gram-positive bacteria B. subtilis is classified as a safe relative of the ESKAPE pathogens, a group of multi-drug resistant nosocomial bacteria that pose a significant risk to public health. Novel methods of disrupting biofilm formation can be identified in B. subtilis and applied to prevent biofilm development in more virulent, infectious strains. Antibiofilm activity was investigated by determining the minimum inhibitory concentration of curcumin and conducting crystal violet assays to measure pellicle formation across a range of sub-MIC concentrations. Findings demonstrated that curcumin was associated with a dose-dependent decrease in biofilm formation in B. subtilis, with 40μg/ml exhibiting a >90% reduction in biofilm relative to the control. Microscopic analysis was used to directly examine biofilms and discern qualitative differences across different concentrations of curcumin, confirming its antibiofilm effects. Current research on the antibiofilm activity of curcumin is extremely scarce and this research can help expand this limited field. Due to its increased accessibility and likely low toxicity, curcumin’s antibiofilm effects can substantiate its use as a potential alternative treatment for managing biofilm-related infections.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.