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Honorable Mention, 2012

Colors of Curcuma

Rasika S. Phansalkar and Karina Szymulanska-Ramamurthy
Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy

Our research project was based on the isolation of curcumin (a marker compound) from the rhizomes of the plant Curcuma longa (commonly known as turmeric, a spice very often used in Asian cooking). After the extraction process, our next step was to fractionate the extract in order to isolate curcumin in its pure form. The fractions were collected into small vials following column chromatography. A class of compounds called curcuminoids is actually responsible for the range of colors it gives to the extracts or fractions.This marvelous little compounds showed a plethora of colours with shades of red yellow and orange . All of these fractions when put together looked just like a palette of colors .You might call it "Fall colors in a few vials!" or "The Shades of sunshine!"