A thin layer chromatographic method for estimation of geraniol in oils of palmarosa

Routine methods for estimation of geraniol in the essential oils as described by Guenther prescribe a larger quantity of oil (10 ml) for estimation. These methods may not be suitable for carrying out estimations in very small quantities, as in the case of oils obtained from plant breeding or cytogenetic and other types of experiments in developmental work where the oil is dreived from a single or few plants only. Gas chromatographic examination requires considerably less oil (1-2 microliters) and gives accurate results. However, in view of the non-availability of the sophisticated instruments such as the gas chromatograph in most of the research laboratories, it was considered worthwhile to develop and present a method for estimation of geraniol in palmaose oil by thin layer chromatography, so that the oil distilled in very small quantities might be analyzed immediately and not get polymerized waiting to be analyzed by gas chromatography.

The method developed involves thin layer chromatography of a sample of palmarosa oil and the same quantity of pure geraniol (isolated by the calcium chloride adduct method), spraying with vanillin-sulfuric acid, scratching out the developed spots of geraniol from both the oil and the reference sample of geraniol, and weighing in analytical balance.

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