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Essential Oils


Volatile aromatic secondary metabolites of plants, commonly known as essential oils, are often obtained by steam distillation, pressing (e.g. citrus peals), extraction by non-polar solvents such as hexane (often followed by ethanol) or liquid carbon dioxide. The chemical constituents of essential oils are by and large terpenoids, phenyl propanoids and their oxidation products which are all known to  qualitatively and quantitatively vary in plants depending on environmental (e.g. soil, type, climate, altitude, etc.) and genetic (species, subspecies, chemotypes, etc.) factors as well as  extraction methodologies used. The quality and stability (essential oils are also known to be degraded/oxidised  over a period of time) of essential oils must be thus ascertained through appropriate analytical procedure. The most widely accepted and  our preferred analytical method for essential oils analysis is gas chromatography (GC) which  is far more sensitive than other chromatographic methods, such as TLC (see below). The ultimate method of choice, however, depends on the purpose of the assay and costs involved. 

TLC plate showing essential oils and some standard compounds/constituents.

See also ....

GC Analysis of Essential Oils

GC-MS Analysis of Lemon Grass Essential Oil

GC-MS Analysis of Patchouli Essential Oil

Contact us for enquires related to essential oil analysis

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Dr Habtemariam BSc, MSc, PhD........FRSM, FRSC. .... With a Principal Lecturer post at Greenwich, Dr Habtemariam is a leader of the BSc Pharmaceutical Science programme and researches on bioassay & natural products-based drug development. ....More

 

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