When essential oils are extracted from plants through the process of steam distillation, wastewater is produced and subsequently released into rivers and streams.
Finding new uses for these unused by-products could benefit essential oil crop growers and processors as well as the environment. A team of researchers has found that the residual distillation water of some aromatic plant species has a beneficial effect on yields and can increase essential oil content of peppermint and spearmint crops.
Peppermint and spearmint are commercially produced for their essential oils, dry leaves used in herbal teas, and as fresh culinary herbs. Essential oils from both mints are widely used in the production of chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwashes, confectionaries, pharmaceuticals, and aromatherapy products. New methods of improving yield and essential oil content in peppermint and spearmint crops could produce economic benefits for large-scale production operations and create more environmentally sustainable systems.
One previous study of plant distillation wastewater found that wastewater from sage, thyme, and rosemary contained antioxidants and could be used as an ingredient in marinades for turkey meat. "We hypothesized that residual distillation water could have an effect on peppermint and spearmint plants when used as a foliar spray", said Mississippi State University professor Valtcho D. Zheljazkov, corresponding author of a study that tested plant hormones and distillation wastewater on peppermint and spearmint plants.
Zheljazkov and colleagues reported on their collaborative research in HortScience. The team evaluated the effects of three plant hormones (methyl jasmonate, gibberellic acid, and salicylic acid) at three concentrations and the residual distillation water from 15 plant species applied as foliar sprays on biomass yields, essential oil content, and essential oil yield of peppermint (Mentha x piperita 'Black Mitcham') and spearmint (Mentha spicata 'Native').
The application of salicylic acid at 1000 mg/L increased biomass yields of both species. Methyl jasmonate at 100 and 1000 mg/L, gibberellic acid at 10 mg/L, salicylic acid at 10 or 100 mg/L, and distillation water of seven plant species all increased the essential oil content of peppermint, whereas the oil content of spearmint was increased only by distillation water of one plant species.
"The study demonstrated that the residual distillation water of some aromatic plant species may have an effect on crop species and may be used as a tool for increasing essential oil content or essential oil yields of peppermint and spearmint crops. Further research is needed to elucidate the effect of these treatments on essential oil composition and to verify the effects under field conditions", said Zheljazkov.
The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/45/9/1338
Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application. More information at ashs.org
Michael W. Neff | EurekAlert!
Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State
How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences