Searching for Odorants in Flowers

Searching for Odorants in Flowers

Author: ChemPlusChem

There is a demand for innovation in natural ingredients, e.g., for cosmetics or dietary supplements. Plant extracts can be sources, for example, of useful odorants or antioxidant ingredients. Elaeagnus x submacrophylla Servett is often planted as an ornamental hedge that is water-saving, robust, and fast-growing, and can improve air quality. It has highly fragrant white tubular flowers.

Isabelle Parrot, Université de Montpellier, France, and colleagues have studied the previously unknown phytochemical composition of E. submacrophylla. The team investigated the composition of the floral headspace using an olfactory evaluation as well as headspace/solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to identify organic compounds emitted by the flowers. They also prepared an ethanolic extract of the flowers and determined its composition.

The team found that the smell of freshly harvested flowers can be classified as containing “white flower notes”, while the ethanolic extract was described as “balsamic, caramelized, spicy, and very lightly floral.” They identified a broad range of odorants, with 57 molecules in the headspace and 78 in the ethanolic extract, e.g., benzyl alcohol, eugenol, or benzyl benzoate. The extract proved to be rich in polyphenolic derivatives and flavonoids, indicating a promising antioxidant capacity and potential for health or cosmetics applications.



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