2013 Volume 62 Issue 4 Pages 195-199
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Mill.) is one of the most widely grown essential oil crops in the world. Commercial extraction of lavender oil is done using steam distillation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of the length of the distillation time (DT) on lavender essential oil yield and composition when extracted from dried flowers. Therefore, the following distillation times (DT) were tested in this experiment: 1.5 min, 3 min, 3.75 min, 7.5 min, 15 min, 30 min, 60 min, 90 min, 120 min, 150 min, 180 min, and 240 min. The essential oil yield (range 0.5-6.8%) reached a maximum at 60 min DT. The concentrations of cineole (range 6.4-35%) and fenchol (range 1.7-2.9%) were highest at the 1.5 min DT and decreased with increasing length of the DT. The concentration of camphor (range 6.6-9.2%) reached a maximum at 7.5-15 min DT, while the concentration of linalool acetate (range 15-38%) reached a maximum at 30 min DT. Results suggest that lavender essential oil yield may not increase after 60 min DT. The change in essential oil yield, and the concentrations of cineole, fenchol and linalool acetate as DT changes were modeled very well by the asymptotic nonlinear regression model. DT may be used to modify the chemical profile of lavender oil and to obtain oils with differential chemical profiles from the same lavender flowers. DT must be taken into consideration when citing or comparing reports on lavender essential oil yield and composition.