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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Content, Composition and Bioactivity of the Essential Oils of Three Basil Genotypes as a Function of Harvesting

Authors
item Zheljazkov, Valtcho - MS. STATE UNIV-NMREC
item Cantrell, Charles
item Tekwani, Babu - UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI
item Khan, Shabana - UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 18, 2007
Publication Date: January 10, 2008
Citation: Zheljazkov, V.D., Cantrell, C.L., Tekwani, B., Khan, S.I. 2008. Content, Composition and Bioactivity of the Essential Oils of Three Basil Genotypes as a Function of Harvesting. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 56:380-385.

Interpretive Summary: The genus Ocimum L. includes approximately 150 species, with a great variation in phenotype, oil content, composition and possibly bioactivity. Ocimum sanctum and Ocimum basilicum are the two basil species which are considered as promising essential oil crops. A field experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of cut on biomass productivity, oil content, composition, and bioactivity of O. basilicum L. . and O. sanctum. Basil grew well under Mississippi conditions, without any major pests or diseases. Three cuts were taken from each of the three basil cultivars during the cropping season. Yield of basil herbage and essential oil were high and comparable to those reported in the literature. The major oil constituents of cvs. German and Mesten (of O. basilicum) were (-)-linalool (30-40%) and eugenol (8-30%), while the major oil constituents of cv Local (of O. sanctum) were eugenol (5-42%) and methyl chavicol (14-18%). Essential oils from both species grown in Mississippi showed in vitro activity against Leishmania donovani (IC50 37.3 – 49.6 ug/ml), which was comparable to the activity of commercial oil (IC50 40-50 ug/ml). We found that minor basil oil constituents cadinene, 3-carene, alpha-humulene, citral, and (-)-trans-caryophyllene had antileishmanial activity, while other constituents were ineffective. None of the oil was cytotoxic to mammalian cells. Results from this study indicate that both sweet (O. basilicum) and holy (O. sanctum) basils could be grown as essential oil crops in Mississippi and provided three cuts and high yields.

Technical Abstract: A replicated field experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of cut on biomass productivity, oil content, composition, and bioactivity of Ocimum basilicum L. (cvs. German and Mesten) and Ocimum sanctum L. (cv. Local). Basil grew well under Mississippi conditions, without any major pests or diseases. Three cuts were taken from each of the three basil cultivars during the cropping season. Yield of basil herbage and essential oil were high and comparable to those reported in the literature. Essential oil content of O. basilicum cv. German varied from 0.4 to 0.75%, the oil content of cv. Mesten varied from 0.5 to 0.72% while the oil content of cv. Local (of O. sanctum) ranged from 0.17 to 0.50% in air dried basil. Herbage and essential oil yields of cvs. German and Mesten of O. basilicum increased with the second and then again with the third cut, while herbage and oil yields of cv. Local of O. sanctum increased with the third cut relative to the previous cuts. Overall, essential oil yields were 115, 123, and 51 kg/ha for the cvs. German, Mesten, and Local, respectively. The major oil constituents of cvs. German and Mesten (of O. basilicum) were (-)-linalool (30-40%) and eugenol (8-30%), while the major oil constituents of cv Local (of O. sanctum) were eugenol (5-42%) and methyl chavicol (14-18%). Essential oils from both species grown in Mississippi showed in vitro activity against Leishmania donovani (IC50 37.3 – 49.6 ug/ml), which was comparable to the activity of commercial oil (IC50 40-50 ug/ml). We found that minor basil oil constituents cadinene, 3-carene, alpha-humulene, citral, and (-)-trans-caryophyllene had antileishmanial activity, while other constituents were ineffective. None of the oil was cytotoxic to mammalian cells. Results from this study indicate that both sweet (O. basilicum) and holy (O. sanctum) basils could be grown as essential oil crops in Mississippi and provided three cuts and high yields.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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