Journal of Environmental Biology ?October, 2007?
Comparison of chemical composition of the essential oil of Laurus nobilis L.
leaves and fruits from different regions of Hatay, Turkey
Mustafa Kemal Sangun*1, Ebru Aydin1, Mahir Timur1, Hatice Karadeniz1,
Mahmut Caliskan2 and Aydin Ozkan1
1Department of Chemistry, 2Department of Biology, Mustafa Kemal University, Tayfur Sokmen Campus,
Faculty of Arts and Science, Antakya Hatay-31024, Turkey
(Received: May 19, 2006 ; Revised received: November 05, 2006 ; Accepted: December 15, 2006)
Abstract: The essential oils of the leaves and fruits from bay (Laurus nobilis L.) grown in Antakya, Yayladagi and Samandagi were isolated by solvent
extraction and analysed by capillary gas chromatography (GC), gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC/MS). In Antakya, Yayladagi and
Samandagi the chemical compositions of the fruits and leaves were similar according to qualitative and quantitative analysis. Although in both fruits and
leaves the major component was found to be 1.8-Cineole a concentration of about 50% compared with essential oils. The composition of the essential oil
from the leaves has high content of 1.8-Cineole, Sabinene and α-Terpinyl acetate, but a low content of α-Pinene, α-Phellandrene and trans-β-osimen.
1.8-Cineole was found major component of the leaves essential oil collected from Samandagi (59.94%) which is sea coast of region. Interestingly, α-
Pinene, β-Pinene, α-Phellandrene, 1.8-Cineole and trans-β-osimen were found the major components of fruits of Laurus nobilis L. harvested from
Antakya, Yayladagi and Samandagi. Trans-β-osimen was detected as the major component of fruits essential oil collected again from Samandagi
Key words: Laurus nobilis L., Essential oil, GC, GC/MS, Antakya-Hatay, Turkey
PDF file of full length paper is available with author
Laurus nobilis L. belongs to the family Lauraceae, which
comprises numerous aromatic and medicinal plants (Hogg et al.,
1974). Laurus nobilis L. native to Mediterranean regions is also
known as sweet bay, bay laurel, Grecian laurel, true bay, and
bay. The dried leaves are used extensively in cooking, and the
essential oil is generally used in the flavourings industry (Bauer
and Garbe, 1985). Laurel essential oil, also called laurel leaf oil or
sweet bay essential oil, is also used for the preparation of hair
lotion due to its antidandruff activity and for the external treatment
of psoriasis. Laurus nobilis L. fruits are generally utilized for the
production of perfumed soaps and candle manufacture because
of their fatty acid content (Hafizoglu and Reunanen, 1993). The
essential oil of leaves has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties
(Knobloch et al., 1989; Ozcan and Erkmen, 2001). Different studies
made on the essential oil show influence of the area of culture, of
variety and harvest season on the chemical composition (Rohloff
et al., 2005; Flamini et al., 2007). 1.8-Cineole has been identified
as the major component of many plant essential oil as well as
Laurus nobilis L. (Fiorini et al., 1997; Dadalioglu and Evrendilek,
2004), but relatively little is known about their biological activities.
It has been reported that the chemical composition of essential oil
of leaves, stem and fruits are different from each other to some
extent (Fiorini et al., 1997).
In Turkey, Laurus nobilis L. grows in the Marmara, Aegean
and Mediterranean regions (Müller-Riebau et al., 1997; Digrak et
al., 2001; Kilic et al., 2004; Tilki, 2004). As far as our literature
survey could ascertain, a comparison of the chemical composition
of the essential oil obtained from Laurus nobilis L. grown in various
region of Hatay have not previously been published, although
there are some reports of the compositions of the essential oil
obtained from different parts of Turkey (Muller-Riebau et al., 1997;
Kanat and Alma, 2004) Particularly, in Hatay homemade production
and use of essential oil of Laurus nobilis L. is quite common. Wild
growing Laurus nobilis L. trees are found in Antakya, Yayladagi
and Samandagi. These three towns have different geographic and
climatic situations. Antakya is located at the side of river Orontes and
about 25 km far from the Mediterranean sea, Yayladagi is a highland
located on the range of Yayladagi mountain and Samandagi is
situated on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea. The aim of
the current study was to determine and compare the leaves and
fruits of essential oil of Laurus nobilis L. collected from three naturally
growing sides of Hatay for the first time.
Materials and Methods
Plant materials: Laurus nobilis L. leaves and fruits were harvested
in June and October 2004 respectively from Antakya, Yayladagi
Isolation of the essential oils: Air-dried leaves were subjected
to water distillation for 4 hr using a Clevenger-type apparatus to
produce the essential oils. The same method was applied for the
fruits. The oils were dried over anhydrous CaCl2 and stored in
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732 Sangun et al.
sealed vials at low temperature before analysis. The essential oil
yield was estimated according to dry leaves and fruit matter by
using the following equation (Boutekedjiret et al., 2003).
RHE (%)= (mHE/mS) x 100
Where mHE = essential oil mass (g), mS = dry leaves and fruit matter
mass (g), RHE = essential oil yield (%).
Analysis and identification of components: The oils were
analysed by GC-MS using Hewlett Packard GCD (model 6890)
and Hewlett Packard MS (model 5972) equipped with a mass
selective detector (MSD). An HP-5 column (30 m x 250 µm i.d.x film
thickness 0.25 µm) and HP 18593B automatic injection system was
used. 30 ml of essential oils was transferred into 1 ml of diethyl ether
(Merck) and injected to the GC-MS sampling port. The
chromatogram was produced by holding the oven temperature to
45oC for 5 min initially and then increasing the temperature to 130oC
at a rate of 2oC/min followed by an increase at a rate of 3oC/min to
170oC and programmed to 220oC at a rate of 10oC/min then kept
constant at 220oC for 5 min. MSD conditions were as follows: capillary
direct interface temperature 250oC, ionisation energy 70 eV, mass
range, 33-330 amu, EM voltage (Atune+200), scan rate 5 scan/s.
Helium was used as the carrier gas at a flow rate of 1.5 ml/min. The
components were identified by comparison of their mass spectra
with Wiley GC-MS and NBS libraries. Relative percentage amounts
of the separated compounds were calculated automatically from
peak areas of the total ion chromatograms.
Results and Discussion
The chemical composition of the essential oil isolated
from the fruits and leaves of Laurus nobilis L. collected from
Antakya, Yayladagi and Samandagi which experience different
climatic and geographic circumstances were determined by GC
and GC/MS analysis. While collecting the experimental sample,
we took care to pick up the leaves and fruits at the same
The qualitative and quantitative compositions of the
essential oil of the leaves of Laurus nobilis L. are presented in
Table I. As seen in the table, 25 different compounds were
determined from the essential oil obtained from the leaves of
Laurus nobilis L. which are grown in Antakya, Yayladagi and
Samandagi. Although there was no marked difference in the
composition of the leaves oil collected from Antakya, Yayladagi
and Samandagi, Sabinene and α-Terpinenol compounds were
determined to have a higher concentration in the leaves oil of
Antakya comparing to Yayladagi and Samandagi. 1.8-cineole
with a concentration of about 50% was found to be the major
component in all the leaves essential oil collected from Antakya,
Yayladagi and Samandagi (Table 1). The other major
components of the essential oil are α-Terpinyl acetate and
Sabinene in the leaves collected from Antakya, Yayladagi and
Previously, it was claimed that the qualitative and quantitative
differences in essential oil composition was dependent more on the
part of the plant and not on sampling season (Papachristos et al.,
2004). We also found that the composition of the essential oil obtained
Table - 2: The essential oil composition of fruits of Laurus nobilis L. harvested
from Antakya, Yayladagi and Samandagi (t = trace amount)
Components (in %)Antakya Yayladagi Samandagi
Table - 1: The essential oil composition of leaves of Laurus nobilis L.
harvested from Antakya, Yayladagi and Samandagi (t = trace amount)
Components (in %)AntakyaYayladagiSamandagi
Journal of Environmental Biology ?October, 2007? Download full-text
733Chemical composition of essential oil of Laurus nobilis
from Laurus nobilis L. leaves is different from the essential oil obtained
from Laurus nobilis L. fruits in terms of qualitative and quantitative
analysis (Table 1, 2). The essential oil extracted from Laurus nobilis
L. leaves is characterized with a high content of 1.8-Cineole, Linalool
and α-Terpinyl (Table 1), whereas fruits essential oil is characterized
with high content of α-Pinene, α-Phellandrene, Sabinen, 1.8-
Cineole and trans-β-osimen (Table 2). Bisio et al. (1999) claimed
that ecological factors (climatic and soil conditios) have strong
influence on the essential oil content, however, we found no significant
variation in the composition of Laurus nobilis L. essential oils obtained
from three distinct regions of Hatay. However, it was astonishing to
find that trans-β-osimen is the major component of the essential oil
obtained from Samandagi Laurus nobilis L. fruits (Table 2).
In this study, we also found that 1.8-cineole is one of the
major components of fruits and leaves essential oil obtained from
Laurus nobilis L. as explained previously by several researchers
(Santos and Rao, 2000; Cimanga et al., 2002). Although there is
not enough evidence about the biological role of this compound,
several studies have suggested that cineoles, particularly 1.8-
cineole, have inhibitory effect in germination or more generally in
early plant development of plants (Vaughn and Spencer, 1993;
Baum et al., 1998; Romagni et al., 2000). Recently, Moteki et al.
(2002) reported that 1.8-cineole exerts antitumor activity on certain
types of cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (Caliskan, 2000).
In conclusion our study has shown that the composition of
the essential oil obtained from the Laurus nobilis L. leaves is different
from the essential oil obtained from the Laurus nobilis L. fruits. We
have also shown that the chemical composition of the essential oil
obtained from the leaves and fruits of Laurus nobilis L. collected
from three different regions of Hatay have different qualitative and
Authors would like to express their thanks to DPT (Turkish
State Planning Organization) who supported this project (98 K
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