Eco-Friendly Plant Dyes for Food Safety and Skin Treatments

Greg Howard
22nd May, 2024

Eco-Friendly Plant Dyes for Food Safety and Skin Treatments

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University explored the use of natural dye extracts for food safety through photodynamic inactivation (PDI)
  • Dye extracts from Curcuma longa and Lawsonia inermis showed strong potential for broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity
  • The effectiveness of these dye extracts is influenced by the pH and composition of the solution they are in
Food safety is a critical issue that has garnered increased attention due to the frequent occurrence of foodborne illnesses and the rise of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Traditional methods of ensuring food safety are not always effective, necessitating the exploration of new technologies. One such promising technology is photodynamic inactivation (PDI), which utilizes visible light to activate photosensitizers within microbial cells, triggering cytotoxic reactions that inactivate pathogens[2][3]. Recent research conducted by Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University has expanded our understanding of PDI by investigating the photostability and antimicrobial performance of various dye extracts in different solutions[1]. The study focused on dye extracts from Hibiscus sabdariffa (HS) calyces, Sorghum bicolor (SB) leaf sheaths, Lawsonia inermis (LI) leaves, and Curcuma longa (CL) roots. These extracts were tested in Acetate-HCl (AH) Buffer (pH 4.6), Tris Base-HCl (TBH) Buffer (pH 8.6), distilled water (dH2O), and Phosphate Buffer Saline (PBS, pH 7.2). The researchers used Bacillus subtilis as a model for gram-positive bacteria, Escherichia coli for gram-negative bacteria, phage MS2 for non-envelope viruses, and phage phi6 for envelope viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. The study revealed that the photostability of the dye extracts decreased in the following order: LI > CL > SB > HS. The HS extract was found to be photostable in distilled water but bleached in all buffer solutions, with the highest rate of bleaching observed in AH buffer. This bleaching affected both the photodynamic and non-photodynamic antimicrobial activities of the dye extracts. In terms of photodynamic antibacterial activity, the dye extracts ranked as follows: CL > HS > LI > SB. For non-photodynamic antibacterial activity, the order was LI > CL > HS > SB. The non-photodynamic antiviral activity followed the same pattern as the non-photodynamic antibacterial activity. However, for photodynamic antiviral activity, the ranking was CL > LI > HS > SB. These findings are significant as they suggest that dye extracts, particularly from Curcuma longa and Lawsonia inermis, have strong potential for use in food safety applications. The extracts demonstrated broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, which is crucial for combating various pathogens, including those resistant to antibiotics. The study also highlighted the importance of the solution's pH and composition in influencing the efficacy of the dye extracts, aligning with earlier research that emphasized the role of environmental factors in antimicrobial performance[4]. The potential applications of these dye extracts are vast, ranging from the disinfection of fresh produce and food surfaces to the sanitation of hands and contact surfaces. The study suggests that these extracts are most effective in environments where water can be used as a diluent and where the microenvironment is free of salts, which can interfere with their activity. This research builds on previous studies that have explored the antimicrobial properties of natural extracts and their potential as alternative sanitizers[4]. For instance, the crude methanolic extract of Lawsonia inermis has been shown to possess high antimicrobial activity, making it a viable candidate for use during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond[4]. The current study further validates these findings by demonstrating the extract's efficacy in photodynamic applications. In conclusion, the research conducted by Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University provides valuable insights into the potential of natural dye extracts for enhancing food safety through photodynamic inactivation. By understanding the factors that influence the photostability and antimicrobial performance of these extracts, researchers and industry professionals can develop more effective and sustainable methods to combat foodborne pathogens and mitigate the risks associated with antibiotic resistance.

MedicineBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Photostability and photodynamic antimicrobial profile of dye extracts from four (4) plants: prospects for eco-friendly low-cost food disinfection and topical biomedical applications.

Published 21st May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Perspectives and Trends in the Application of Photodynamic Inactivation for Microbiological Food Safety.

3) The application of photodynamic inactivation to microorganisms in food.

4) Potential of a methanolic extract of Lawsonia inermis (L.) leaf as an alternative sanitiser in the time of COVID-19 Pandemic and beyond.

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