Botanical Devotion: 47th Annual ISEO Congress

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By Jean-Jacques Etienne, ATN Conseil

The 47th International Symposium on Essential Oils (ISEO) Congress took place in Nice (France) on September 11-14, 2016 in the Phoenix Park – a place devoted to botany. More than 280 participants from 36 countries attended the sessions, which offered six plenary lectures, 21 oral presentations and more than 120 posters. After some introduction speeches by local authorities and professional organizations, the Congress began its discussions on the biological and analytical studies of plants and corresponding essential oils.

Precious Properties

The discussion began with a particular focus of a large and detailed vision of the Brazilian/Amazonian status and its native plants; the scents of several Japanese aromatic plants; the odorants of timur EO (from Nepal); and the discovery of several invasive plants in Corsica.

Attendees listened to presentations surrounding the precious properties and uses of essential oils. This includes essential oils as agricultural agents—despite volatility as a limit to efficiency—which can replace chemical herbicides and pesticides. Even, surprisingly, these properties may allow and improve the use of “CBMW” (coal bed methane water) and gypsum for agricultural purposes. With classical medical abilities, particularly on the sympathic/parasympathic nervous system, strict methodologies are built to evaluate the efficiency of scents; including cyclodextrin encapsulation.

An always impressive view of biological studies is aimed at the creation of selected molecules difficult to obtain by chemistry and now accessible via biosynthetic pathways (a white biotechnology), such as Ambrox.

Discussions on practical/economical improvements included the preparation of EO (rosa and geranium/pelargonium) combined with its genetic, epigenetic abilities (to create, for example, geraniol, citronellol) and agricultural data; as well as appropriate human management of raw materials.

Developing Analytical Methods

The analytical lecture was rich in contributions focusing on

  • The present development of analytical methods (i.e. ionic liquids such as GC stationary phase) and the art of combining complementary separation/identification methods;
  • The importance of establishing a critical eye upon some analytical results in the literature since they are sometimes erroneous for different reasons (nature of the sample, methodologies, etc.);
  • And the interest of some “forgotten techniques” (such as preparative GC, fractional distillation) to give new abilities using contemporary tools.

Safety in Substances

Matthias Vey (IFRA) updated our knowledge about the European pending legislation, recalling quantitative risk assessment (QRA), which measures the safe use of a substance. At the moment only atranol/chloratranol and HICC are targeted. Presently, the regulatory proposal of 2014 is still under public consultation.

Exploring Perfume

After a very pleasant evening, we had the pleasure to have a brilliant dinner at the Radisson Blu Hotel with a splendid view on the Nice beach and the Mediterranean sea. And to end this edition we visited Grasse, the International Museum of Perfume and the Gardens of the Museum discovering several plants and flowers, particularly the famous Jasminum grandiflorum, the unique “Jasmin de Grasse”

All this was managed by Pr Nicolas Baldovini and his colleagues.

Next ISEO Congress 2017 will take place in Hungary during the second week of September. Gyorgyi HORVATH, associate Professor, Pharmacognosy Dept (Pecs, Hungary) will manage this event.