Journal of Food Science and Technology

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 132–144 | Cite as

A powerful approach to explore the potential of medicinal plants as a natural source of odor and antioxidant compounds

  • Rosa Perestrelo
  • Catarina L. Silva
  • Freddy Rodrigues
  • Michael Caldeira
  • José S. CâmaraEmail author
Original Article


In this study an efficient and reliable method based on dynamic headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) followed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–qMS), was developed to establish the volatile metabolomic pattern of Thymus vulgaris L., Rosmarinus officinalis L. and Ruta chalepensis L. medicinal plants. The HS-SPME influencing parameters were investigated and the results indicated that the best extraction capability, was obtained using DVB/CAR/PDMS coating fiber at 40 °C for 45 min. Under optimal conditions, a total of 99 volatile metabolites were identified, including 53 terpenoids, 19 carbonyl compounds, 7 esters, 6 alcohols, among others. The main volatile metabolites identified in T. vulgaris include thymol (67 %), 3-octanone (9 %) and 1-octen-3-ol (7 %), while in R. officinalis the most dominant volatiles were eucalyptol (40 %), 2-decanone (20 %) and bornyl acetate (10 %). 2-Undecanone (53 %), (E)-2-octenal (28 %) and 2-nonanone (10 %) were the most relevant volatile metabolites identified in R. chalepensis. The results suggested that the HS-SPME/GC-qMS methodology is a powerful approach to establish the volatile metabolomic fingerprint of medicinal plants and providing a reliable tool for the complete characterization of these biologically active medicinal plants.


Medicinal plants Volatile metabolite Solid-phase microextraction GC-qMS Antioxidant capacity 



The support of Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) is acknowledged through the CQM pluriannual base funding/Strategic Plan: PEst-OE/QUI/UI0674/2014 and MS Portuguese Networks RNEM (REDE/1508/REM/2011).


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Copyright information

© Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (India) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosa Perestrelo
    • 1
  • Catarina L. Silva
    • 1
  • Freddy Rodrigues
    • 1
  • Michael Caldeira
    • 1
  • José S. Câmara
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.CQM/UMa, Centro de Química da MadeiraFunchalPortugal
  2. 2.Universidade da Madeira, Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Engenharia da Universidade da MadeiraFunchalPortugal

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