A network of research groups has carried out a bioprospective study of Colombia’s vegetal biodiversity, with focus on aromatic plants. This chapter presents results on the chromatographic analysis of flower fragrances and essential oils obtained from vegetal material collected in botanical expeditions to various Colombian regions. Essential oils and flower fragrances are composed of volatile substances that differ greatly in polarity, functional groups, and relative amounts. The study of these complex mixtures requires special sampling and analysis techniques, described in this chapter. The large chemical diversity of the essential oil and flower fragrance constituents is a formidable characterization challenge. Typically, the number of essential oil components surpassed 50. It was rare to find an essential oil composition in which a single substance was present with a relative amount above 50%.
Part of the book: Potential of Essential Oils
Researchers from several Colombian universities have joined efforts for over 15 years to characterize the composition and biological properties of more than a thousand samples of essential oils (EOs) obtained from aromatic plants collected during at least 30 botanical outings in different regions of Colombia. This chapter presents a brief description of essential oil extraction and chemical characterization techniques, followed by a representative list of references to publications on EO composition obtained from tropical aromatic plants that grow in Colombia. Opportunities for the development of interesting products for the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, hygiene, and food industries are illustrated with a few selected works on the evaluation of cytotoxicity, antioxidant, antiviral, antigenotoxic activities, and repellence of these essential oils.
Part of the book: Essential Oils