Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Essential oil raw material optimization

Optimization of raw material quality for essential oil extraction need to be done because it will affect the yield. Qualityof raw materials is influenced by the quality of cultivation which include the appropriate agro-climate requirement, varieties, cultivation technology applied and the proper harvest age. All of that must meet the Good Agriculture Practices (GAP). Harvest handling can affect the yield and completeness of its components.
Research Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (Balittro) of Indonesia has obtained four superior patchouli clones with patchouli alcohol levels above the required quality (more than 30%). They are Cisaroni, Lhoksumawe, Sidikalang, and Tapak Tuan. The clones can be used as reference in the selection of patchouli clones. In addition to forms or clones of plants, optimization of raw material quality for extraction of essential oil can be done by setting the age of harvest. Patchouli plants can be harvested after the age of 6-8 months and subsequent harvests can be done every 3-4 months. When the leaves are too young, the possibility of secondary metabolites which are formed is less than perfect so that it affect on final product quality.
At the vetiver, its essential oil distilled from the young rhizome has low specific gravity and optical rotation, is difficult to soluble in alcohol, mostly consists of terpenes and sesquiterpenes. The older rhizome produce vetiver oil which has higher specific gravity and optical rotation, is soluble in alcohol and more intensive smell. At the extraction of jasmine oil, the flowers are picked at the optimum level of aging. In the case of white jasmine oil (Jasminum sambac), the milky white flowers are chosen to be picked, while at the case of gambier jasmine (Jasminum officinale), the flowers are picked at the young age of purple flowers. Optimization of raw material quality for essential oil extraction can also be done by shortening the time gap between the harvest and the processing or distillation, so there will be less volatile substances lost during handling of raw material.

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