Cumin's Applications

March 31/Tehran, Iran/Food Business Week -- According to recent research published in the Journal of Food Science, "Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is one of the commonly used spices in food preparations. It is also used in traditional medicine as a stimulant, a carminative and an astringent."

"In this study, we characterized the antimicrobial, antioxidant and cytotoxic activities of cumin. E. coli, S. aureus and S. faecalis were sensitive to various oil dilutions. The total phenol content of the essential oil was estimated to be 33.43mu g GAE/mg of the oil. The oil showed higher antioxidant activity compared with that of BHT and BHA. The cumin essential oil exhibited a dose-dependent scavenging of DPPH radicals and 5.4mu g of the oil was sufficient to scavenge 50% of DPPH radicals/mL. At a concentration of 0.1mu L/mL, oil destructed Hela cells by 79%. The antioxidant activity of cumin essential oil might contribute to its cytotoxic activity. Acute and subchronic toxicity was studied in a 30-day oral toxicity study by administration to Wistar rats of the essential oil. A 17.38% decrease in WBCs count, and 25.77%, 14.24%, and 108.81% increase in hemoglobin concentration, hematocrit, and platelet count, respectively, were noted. LDL/HDL ratio was reduced to half, which adds to the nutritional effects of cumin," wrote T. Allahghadri and colleagues.

The researchers concluded, "Thus, cumin with a high phenolic content and good antioxidant activity can be supplemented for both nutritional purposes and preservation of foods."

Allahghadri and colleagues published their study in the Journal of Food Science ("Antimicrobial Property, Antioxidant Capacity, and Cytotoxicity of Essential Oil from Cumin Produced in Iran." Journal of Food Science, 2010;75(2):H54-H61).

For additional information, contact I. Rasooli, Shahed University, Dept. of Biol, Tehran Qom Express Way, Tehran 3319118651, Iran.

From the April 12, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition