European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 224, Issue 1, pp 109–115 | Cite as

Antioxidant and antibacterial activities of polyphenolic compounds from bitter cumin (Cuminum nigrum L.)

  • V. Ani
  • M. C. Varadaraj
  • K. Akhilender NaiduEmail author
Original Paper


Cumin is one of the commonly used spices in food preparations. It is also used in traditional ayurvedic medicine as a stimulant, carminative and astringent. Earlier we have reported that bitter cumin (Cuminum nigrum L.) possess the most potent antioxidant activity among cumin varieties—cumin, black cumin and bitter cumin. In this study, we have further characterized the polyphenolic compounds of bitter cumin and also their antioxidant and antibacterial activity using different model systems. The major polyphenolic compounds of cumin seeds were extracted with 70% methanol, 70% acetone, water, separated by HPLC and their structures were elucidated by LC-MS. The profile of phenolic acids/flavonols in bitter cumin were found to be gallic acid, protocatechuic acid, caffeic acid, ellagic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin and kaempferol. The antioxidant activity of the cumin extract was tested on 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl hydrazyl (DPPH) free radical scavenging, soybean lipoxygenase-dependent lipid peroxidation, rat liver microsomal lipid peroxidation and superoxide anion (O2−) scavenging. The bitter cumin extract exhibited high antioxidant activity with IC50 values of 14.0±0.5 μg, 28.0±3.0 μg, 110±14.0 μg and 125.4±8.7 μg of the extract, respectively for DPPH free radical scavenging, soybean lipoxygenase-dependent lipid peroxidation, rat liver microsomal lipid peroxidation and superoxide anion scavenging. Further, the extract offered a significant protection against DNA damage induced by hydroxyl radicals. Among a spectrum of food-borne pathogenic and spoilage bacteria tested, the cumin extract significantly inhibited the growth of Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus. Thus, bitter cumin with an array of polyphenolic compounds possesses potent antioxidant and antibacterial activities.


Bitter cumin Phenolic acids DPPH radicals Superoxide anion scavenging Lipid peroxidation DNA damage Antibacterial activity 



Authors are thankful to Dr. V. Prakash, Director and Dr. S.G. Bhat, Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore for their constant encouragement and support. Ani. V is thankful to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, for the award of Junior and Senior Research Fellowship. This work was partly supported by a project awarded to KAN by Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi, India.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Ani
    • 1
  • M. C. Varadaraj
    • 2
  • K. Akhilender Naidu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Biochemistry and NutritionCentral Food Technological Research InstituteMysoreIndia
  2. 2.Human Resource DevelopmentCentral Food Technological Research InstituteMysoreIndia

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