The essential oil of lemongrass is derived chiefly from two important species of Cymbopogon, C. flexuosus, which has been the subject of numerous investigations, and C. citratus, C. flexuosus (Stend.) Wats (syn. Andropogon nardus var. flexuosus Hack), is native to India. Its two strains, SD-68 and OD-19, which have been cultivated at our Kukrail Research Farm, Lucknow, were examined by gas chromatography and the presence of new trace constituents was established for the first time.
The essential oil of lemongrass has been subjected to numerous investigations by earlier workers. Tiemann and Semmler isolated citral a and b. Barbier and Bouveault as well as Schimmel & Co. observed the presence of citronellal, while Schimmel & Co. reported n-decyl aldehyde in the oil of Indian lemongrass. Eleze found nerol and farnesol in these oils. The essential oil of Malabar lemongrass was investigated in greater detail in 1961 by Ping-Hsien Yeh, who reported the presence of myrcene, p-cymene, methyl heptenone, geranic acid, and geranyl salicylate. Ayyar, Kamarth, and Rao identified geranyl acetate in noncitral parts of the lemongrass oils. In 1962, Airth, Stringer and Levi developed a method for determination of citral in lemongrass oils by barbituric acid condensation, while Kasim Cemal Guven used paper chromatography for citral estimation. Shukla, Nigam, and Handa developed a spectrophotometric method for estimation of citral in lemongrass oils by converting it into 2-4-dinitrophenyl-hydrazone.