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Comparative Investigations of the Essential Oil and Volatiles of Spearmint

Contact Author Leopold Jirovetz, Gerhard Buchbauer and Manochehr Shahabi, Martin Benoit Ngassoum
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Essential oils and extracts of Mentha spicata have long been of high importance in food-product, perfumery and cosmetic applications due to their intense, pleasant, clear-fresh odor. In addition to this species of the Labiatae family, Mentha piperita L. (peppermint) and Mentha arvensis L. (cornmint) are also used extensively. Many analyses of the aroma compounds of M. spicata essential oils and extracts have been performed in the past, not only to identify these volatiles, which are responsible for the characteristic aroma, but also to study biological activities of spearmint samples.

To the best of our knowledge no comparative studies on the volatiles of M. spicata oil from Cameroon and its corresponding solid-phase-microextraction (SPME)-headspace sample have been available until now. Therefore the objective of this work is to identify the fragrance compounds of this oil and its SPME-headspace by means of gas chromatographic- spectroscopic (GC and GC/MS using different polar and chiral phases) and olfactoric methods (GC-sniffing technique and olfactory correlations) to find out the importance of each single constituent with their specific odor attributes, responsible for the characteristic and pleasant spearmint aroma for the first time.

Results and Discussion Professional perfumers olfactively evaluated the essential oil of M. spicata L. from Cameroon as follows: pleasant fresh spearmint (carvone, limonene, 1,8-cineole) aroma (top note), with green (leaf-like), floral (similar to rose and lavender), fruity (similar to citrus and peaches), and spicy (similar to pepper and caraway) side notes. Additionally, the perfumers generally identified a high olfactive quality.