Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 31, Issue 12, pp 2775–2790

Rapid Absorption of Dietary 1,8-Cineole Results in Critical Blood Concentration of Cineole and Immediate Cessation of Eating in the Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)


    • School of PharmacyUniversity of Tasmania
  • Stuart McLean
    • School of PharmacyUniversity of Tasmania
  • Sue Brandon
    • School of PharmacyUniversity of Tasmania
  • Natasha Wiggins
    • School of ZoologyUniversity of Tasmania

DOI: 10.1007/s10886-005-8393-0

Cite this article as:
Boyle, R.R., McLean, S., Brandon, S. et al. J Chem Ecol (2005) 31: 2775. doi:10.1007/s10886-005-8393-0


The blood concentration of 1,8-cineole and its metabolites was measured in six male brushtail possums while they voluntarily fed on diets laced with varying concentrations of cineole for 3 d. On the third day, blood samples were collected during and after each bout of feeding for 3 hr. Blood cineole was measured by using headspace solid-phase microextraction (SPME), while cineole metabolites were measured by liquid–liquid extraction followed by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy. Feeding patterns were measured by continual recording of residual food weight and time. Cineole absorption was rapid, resulting in a peak blood concentration at the end of each feeding bout. The blood concentration of cineole did not exceed a critical value (51.8 ± 14.1 μmol/l) regardless of the concentration in the diet. Food and, therefore, cineole intake was regulated. The amount of food ingested in the first feeding bout decreased from 236 ± 52 g on the control diet to 36 ± 20 g on the 4% cineole diet. The amount of cineole ingested in the first bout (1.18 ± 1.10 g) was the same regardless of the dietary concentration and was controlled by the size of the meal. Total food eaten during the 7-hr feeding session decreased by 64% from 368 ± 94 g (control diet) to 131 ± 52 g (4% diet). Total cineole intake increased from 2.47 ± 0.60 g (1% diet) to 5.05 ± 2.41 g (4% diet). Cineole metabolites accumulated throughout the sampling period and were generally still rising at the end of blood sampling period. Blood levels of metabolites were at least 10-fold higher than cineole levels. The immediate control of feeding seems to be regulated by blood levels of cineole, whereas metabolites are likely to be more important in regulating the chronic ingestion of cineole.

Key Words

Absorption antifeedant blood concentrations Brushtail possum 1,8-cineole cineole metabolites plant secondary metabolites terpenes

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005