COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Mississippi University for Women students, along with two high school students, wrote a research article that was published in the October 2015 issue of the Journal of Mississippi Academy of Sciences.

The Journal of Mississippi Academy of Sciences publishes science news, as well as articles that would appeal to those interested in science and members of MAS. The MAS is an organization that allows professors, students and individuals interested in science in Mississippi to come together to discuss current events and exchange ideas.

W students who helped write the article were Maggie Leake, Aangdambe S. Barsha, Tshering L. Sherpa and Adedoyin Adebowale. The two high school students, Wrishija Roy and Laurel Yarborough, were from Columbus High School. The students were assisted by W professors Dr. Jiben Roy, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Ghanshyam Heda, professor of biology. Voluntary work completed by the students, except Leake led to the publication of the article.

The title of the article was “Thin Layer Chromatographic Analysis of Stability of Curcumin and Curcumin in Turmeric after Refluxing in Water and Using Double Mobile Phase after Heating in Edible Oils.”

Turmeric is a common curry spice used for cooking in India. It is believed that turmeric is used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, according to Dr. Roy. When researchers compared elderly people in India to the elderly in the United States, it was shown that Alzheimer’s disease was not as big a problem as it is in the United States, he explained. It is also believed to be a therapeutic treatment for cancer, Dr. Roy added. Curcumin in turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antioxidants. It is believed that ingesting foods with turmeric daily may benefit people.

The research was done to analyze the stability of curcumin, as well as curcumin in turmeric, after exposing it to high levels of heat. Both substances were refluxed in water and edible oil. While in water, the curcumin was still stable, yet the curcumin in turmeric degraded. While in the oil, curcmin had dissolved, while curcumin in turmeric had degraded. The amount of time taken for each experiment was about 60 minutes.

For their work with the science fair projects, Roy and Yarborough were awarded several prizes. With the exception of Leake, the students worked as volunteers. Leake, under the NASA Space Grant Student Research Program, had a summer fellowship.

Since the publication of the article, the students have graduated and moved on to the next phases of their education. Leake is in the doctoral program at Mississippi State University. Barsha is a medical technician at UT South Western Hospital in Dallas, Texas. Sherpa is pursuing a doctorate at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Adebowale is a pharmacist at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Roy and Yarborough are juniors at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

The link for the article is available at http://msacad.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/MAS-October-2015-Number-Vol-60-4.pdf

March 24, 2016
Contact: Toni Burkett
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