Chemical Composition of the Essential Oils Obtained From Some Spices Widely Used in Mediterranean Region

Manuel Viuda-Martos, Yolanda Ruíz-Navajas, Juana Fernández-López*, José Angel Pérez-Álvarez
Tecnología Agroalimentaria, Escuela Politécnica Superior de Orihuela (Universidad Miguel Hernández), Ctra. Beniel, km 3.2, E-03312 Orihuela (Alicante), Spain
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Spices are widely used in the countries of Southern Europe and North Africa where they play a central role in the Mediterranean diet. Spices are used for their flavour and aroma and also for the sensations that they produce; they can be used as colouring as for their nutritional and antioxidant properties. The aim of this work was to determine the chemical composition of the essential oil of six spices widely used in the Murcia Region (Spain): oregano (Origanum vulgare), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), sage (Salvia officinalis), cumin (Cuminum cyminum) and clove (Syzygium aromaticum L). Essential oils were chemically analysed and identified by GC-MS. The principal components of sage essential oil were camphor (24.95%), 1,8-cineole (24.75%) and camphene (7.63%). Major oil components of oregano included carvacrol (61.21%) and p-cymene (15.12%). The essential oil of thyme was characterized by a high content of terpinen-4-ol (13.15%), γ-terpinene (9.21%) and cis-sabinene hydrate (7.65%). The predominant compounds in clove essential oil were eugenol (85.5%), β-caryophyllene (10.54%) and α-humulene (3.12%) while β-pinene (12.75%), α-pinene (36.42%) and camphor (15.65%) were the main constituents of rosemary essential oil. Cumin essential oil was manly composed of γ-pinene (27.4%), p-cymene (20.49%) and cuminal (20.39%).

Keywords: Essential oil, spices, chemical composition, GC/MS.