Free radical reactions of curcumin and its ethoxy substituted derivative (C1) 1,7-bis-(4-hydroxy-3-ethoxy phenyl)-1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione have been studied using a pulse radiolysis technique in homogeneous aqueous-organic solutions like acetonitrile-water and isopropanol-water mixtures, as well as in neutral TX-100 and cationic CTAB micellar solutions. The phenoxyl radicals of curcumin or C1 were generated by one-electron transfer to several oxidants like N3., Br2-.., CCl3O2., glutathione radicals which exhibit absorption from a 300-600-nm wavelength region with the maximum at 490-500 nm. Other important properties of the phenoxyl radicals such as extinction coefficient, radical lifetime and their formation and decay rate constants were also determined in these systems. The antioxidant property of curcumin and C1 were estimated in terms of their ability to inhibit the lipid peroxidation in liposomes and also in terms of trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC). The results were compared with α-tocopherol. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.