Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 387, Issue 6, pp 2207–2217 | Cite as

Comparison of different extraction methods for the determination of essential oils and related compounds from aromatic plants and optimization of solid-phase microextraction/gas chromatography

Original Paper


Different extraction methods for the subsequent gas chromatographic determination of the composition of essential oils and related compounds from marjoram (Origanum majorana L.), caraway (Carum carvi L.), sage (Salvia officinalis L.), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) have been compared. The comparison was also discussed with regard to transformation processes of genuine compounds, particularly in terms of expenditure of time. Hydrodistillation is the method of choice for the determination of the essential oil content of plants. For investigating the composition of genuine essential oils and related, aroma-active compounds, hydrodistillation is not very useful, because of discrimination and transformation processes due to high temperatures and acidic conditions. With cold solvent extraction, accelerated solvent extraction, and supercritical fluid extraction, discrimination of high and non-volatile aroma-active components as well as transformation processes can be diminished, but non-aroma-active fats, waxes, or pigments are often extracted, too. As solid-phase microextraction is a solvent-free fully automizable sample preparation technique, this was the most sparing to sensitive components and the most time-saving method for the rapid determination of the aroma compounds composition in marjoram, caraway, sage, and thyme. Finally, solid-phase microextraction could be successfully optimized for the extraction of the aroma components from the plants for their subsequent gas chromatographic determination.


Extraction SPME GC Origanum majorana L. Thymus vulgaris L. Salvia officinalis L. Carum carvi L. 



gas chromatography


mass spectrometry


accelerated solvent extraction


supercritical fluid extraction


solid-phase microextraction



The investigations have been performed within the research project FKZ 03i0618B. The authors thank the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Bioanalytical Sciences (IBAS)Center of Life Sciences, Anhalt University of Applied SciencesBernburgGermany

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