Mint essential oils are commonly used in the foodflavoring and fragrance industries. The essential oils exploited globally in commercial ventures include peppermint (Mentha x piperita L.), spearmint (Mentha spicata L.), cornmint (Mentha arvensis L. var. piperascens), Mentha x gracilis Sole and Mentha pulegium L.
Minty fragrances differ greatly in their organoleptic properties, going from fresh and cool long-lasting tastes (as those of spearmint) to sweeter flavors and fragrances (such as peppermint and cornmint). As a result of these differences, mint essential oils are responsible for a wide variety of applications in food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical preparations. The organoleptic characters of these oils rely mainly on the presence of p-menthan C-3 oxygenated monoterpenes, like pulegone, menthone and menthol in peppermint and cormint, or C-6 oxygenated derivatives present in carvonerich essential oils such as spearmint and its relatives.
With regards to mint oil chemical composition, discovery and selection of new land races or chemotypes of Mentha species bring forth novel and unique flavor profiles. These are unique model systems for the study of essential oil biosynthetic pathway regulation and can be applied commercially, fulfilling some special market requirements.