γ-Radiation provides an effective alternative method to reduce or eliminate microbial contamination of medicinal herbs and other plant materials. However, a search in the literature is important to describe the effects of γ-radiation on the content and integrity of secondary metabolites from plants. The present work provides a review of the effects of γ-radiation on extraction yields and chemical composition of essential oils isolated from roots, rhizome and cortex, leaves, fruits, seeds, flowers, and whole plant. In addition, this review describes the effects of γ-radiation on terpenes. The informations in the present work may assist in research about essential oils and dose of γ-radiation that is able to biologically decontaminate without causing chemical changes in secondary metabolites. These reports in the literature can describe the behavior of many of these metabolites when subjected to various doses of radiation.
Part of the book: New Insights on Gamma Rays