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Special Feature

What gives turmeric its medicinal properties?

  • from Shaastra :: vol 01 issue 01 :: Jan - Feb 2022
Scientists have cracked the gene structures of major enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of turmeric’s key ingredient, curcumin.

Indian researchers have mapped the genome sequence of turmeric, throwing light on the origins of its medicinal properties.

Turmeric, widely known as a cure-all, may have developed its valued medicinal traits while battling adverse weather conditions and predators.

Indian scientists, who have for the first time sequenced the genome of the rhizomatous plant known to humankind for over 4,000 years, believe that turmeric's survival strategy in times of environmental stress may have helped it acquire therapeutic properties.

The genome sequence of the plant was mapped for the first time in October 2021 by a team led by Vineet K. Sharma, an Associate Professor at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal. Their study provides insights into the origin of the medicinal properties of Indian cuisine's star ingredient and is expected to help further its therapeutic and commercial applications. The other authors of the study are Sharma's doctoral students Abhisek Chakraborty, Shruti Mahajan and Shubham Jaiswal.


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