Essential oils and distilled straws of lavender and lavandin: a review of current use and potential application in white biotechnology

Abstract

The Lavandula genus, which includes lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and lavandin (L. angustifolia × Lavandula latifolia), is cultivated worldwide for its essential oils, which find applications in perfumes, cosmetics, food processing and, more recently, in aromatherapy products. The chemical composition of lavender and lavandin essential oils, usually produced by steam distillation from the flowering stems, is characterized by the presence of terpenes (e.g. linalool and linalyl acetate) and terpenoids (e.g. 1,8-cineole), which are mainly responsible for their characteristic flavour and their biological and therapeutic properties. Lavender and lavandin distilled straws, the by-products of oil extraction, were traditionally used for soil replenishment or converted to a fuel source. They are mineral- and carbon-rich plant residues and, therefore, a cheap, readily available source of valuable substances of industrial interest, especially aroma and antioxidants (e.g. terpenoids, lactones and phenolic compounds including coumarin, herniarin, α-bisabolol, rosmarinic and chlorogenic acids). Accordingly, recent studies have emphasized the possible uses of lavender and lavandin straws in fermentative or enzymatic processes involving various microorganisms, especially filamentous fungi, for the production of antimicrobials, antioxidants and other bioproducts with pharmaceutical and cosmetic activities, opening up new challenging perspectives in white biotechnology applications.

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Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the FranceAgrimer Institute (Etablissement National des Produits de l’Agriculture et de la Mer, Paris, France) and the French Pole of Competitiveness Parfums Arômes Senteurs Saveurs (Grasse, France). The authors warmly thank Dr. Jean-Luc Cayol (Aix-Marseille University, France) for his participation and helpful comments on the manuscript and Dr. Estelle Bonnin (INRA, Nantes, France) for LLDS cellulose and hemicellulose analysis.

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Correspondence to Anne Lomascolo.

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Lesage-Meessen, L., Bou, M., Sigoillot, JC. et al. Essential oils and distilled straws of lavender and lavandin: a review of current use and potential application in white biotechnology. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 99, 3375–3385 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-015-6511-7

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Keywords

  • Biotechnological application
  • Distilled straws
  • Lavandin
  • Lavender
  • Phenolics
  • Terpenes