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Chemical Composition of Essential Oils from the Rhizomes of Hedychium ellipticum and Etlingera littoralis Sineenard Songsri, Iyared Kumrit and Nuchnipa Nuntawong Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai , Thailand, ABSTRACT Essential oils isolated by hydrodistillation from the rhizomes of Hedychium ellipticum and Etlingera littoralis were analyzed by GC/MS. Forty-seven and seventeen components representing 52.22 % and 21.11 % of the total oil of H. ellipticum and E. littoralis were respectively identified. A single major component of H. ellipticum rhizome oil was 1,8-cineol (83.90%) while spathulenol (34.79%), 1,8-cineol (19.57%), n-hexadecanoic acid (8.51%) and α-terpineol (4.73%) were the major components of rhizome oil of E. littoralis. Keywords: Zingiberaceae, Hedychium ellipticum, Etlingera littoralis, Essential oil composition INTRODUCTION Zingiberaceae or a Ginger family is a family of flowering plants consisting of aromatic perennial herbs with creeping horizontal or tuberous rhizome. It is a large family comprising of more than 200 species. The large general found in Thailand are Curcuma, Hedychium, Zingiber, Alpinia, Kaempferia and Etlingera(1). They are important natural resources that provide many useful products for food, spices, medicines, dyes, perfume and aesthetics to man. Rhizome of ginger plants are eaten raw or cooked as vegetables, used for flavoring food and in traditional forms of medicine to treat a variety of diseases, for example, in Peninsular Malaysia decoction of the boiled leaves of difference Hedychiuym species is eaten for indigestion. In Moluccas and the Philippines, the juice of the chewed stem is applied to swellings(2). The rhizome of Etlingera punicea is used as spice and ingredient in noodle and curry in Thailand(3). The essential oils from several Hedychium species; H. venustum, H. spicatum, H. coronarium and H. flavescens have been reported to possess significant antibacterial acivities. Monoterpenes, 1,8-cineole was the major component present in the rhizome oils of H. venustum, H. spicatum and H. coronarium, while β-pinene was the major constituent in the oil of H. flavescens(4). 1,8-cineole, sabinene and terpen-4-ol were the major constituents of rhizome oils of H. ellipticum(5). The leaves, stems, flowers and rhizomes essential oils of Etlingera elatior were investigated. β-pinene, caryophyllene and (E)-β-farnesene were reported to be the major components in the leaves(6), 1,1-dodecanediol diacetate, (E)-5-dodecane and cyclododecane were rich in the stems, flowers and rhizomes(7). Methyleugenol and methylisoeugenol are prominent in the oils obtained from the rhizomes of Etlingera cevuga. To our knowledge, there are no previous reports on the chemical composition of the volatile oils of E. littoralis in the literature. The present study is therefore aimed to investigate the essential oils constituents of the rhizomes of H. ellipticum and E. littoralis with respect to seeking major components by GC/MS. MATERIALS AND METHODS Plant Materials: Hedychium ellipticum and Etlingera littoralis used in this study were collected from Chiang Mai province in January 2007. The samples were identified by J. F. Maxwell of the CMU Herbarium, where a voucher specimen was deposited (06-609 and 06-367 J.F. Maxwell). Isolation of oils: Dried rhizomes of H. ellipticum (50.47 g) and E. littolaris (50.35 g) were hydrodistilled in Clevenger-type apparatus for 4 h to obtained the corresponding rhizome oils. The yields were 52.22 % and 21.11 % for H. ellipticum and E. littolaris, respectively. Essential Oil analysis: The essential oils were analyzed using Agilent-HP 5973 Mass Spectrometer equipped with Alltech 15897 AT-1 MS capillary column (30 m x 0.25 mm, 0.25 µm film thickness). The oven temperature was programmed from 45-250 oC at the rate of 2 oC/min with final hold 12.5 min, using helium gas as a carrier gas. Individual components were identified by Wiley 275 and NIST database matching. Relative percentage of individual components were calculated based on GC peak areas without using correction factors. The injector and detector temperatures were 200 oC and 230 oC, respectively. MS were taken at 70 eV with mass range of m/z 29-550. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Essential oils isolated by hydrodistillation from the rhizomes of H. ellipticum and E. littolaris were analyzed by GC/MS. Chemical compositions of the rhizome oils of H. ellipticum and E. littolaris are summarized in Table I. Forty-seven components representing 52.22 % of the total oil were identified in H. ellipticum essential oil. The only main constituent of the oil was 1,8-cineol (83.90%) and the other components were terpinen-4-ol (1.37%) α-terpineol (1.26%) and β-Pinene (1.20%). The chemical compositions of the rhizome oils of H. ellipticum under present study were different from previous report in India(8). 1,8-cineole (33.0%), sabinene (22.2%), and terpin-4-ol (14.3%) being major constituents, while in our study, only 1,8-cineole was a principal component. Terpinen-4-ol was found only a small amount wheras sabinene was not even determined in the oils of present work. However, 1,8-Cineole remained the major constituent in the oils of several Hedychium species, such as H. acuminatum (76.0%), H. venustum (45.4%), H. spicatum (44.3%), H. coronarium (48.7%) and H. gardnerianum (27.0%) (4, 9, 10). Nineteen components were identified in the essential oil of E. littolaris which made up 21.11% of total content. The major components were spathulenol (33.79%), 1,8-cineol (19.57%), n-hexadecanoic acid (8.51%) and α-terpineol (4.73%). All of these components are reported from the essential oil of E. littolaris for the first time. The compositions of oils of E. littoralis quite differed from the oils investigated from previous report in some Etlingera species. Methyleugenol (47.4%) and methylisoeugenol (18.4%) are major constituents of the rhizomes essential oils of E. cevuga(7), while methyl chavicol was the major component of the essential oil E. punicea(3). The essential oils of the flowers and rhizomes of E. elatior contained 1,1-dodecanediol diacetate (24.38% and 40.37%, respectively) and cyclododecane (47.28% and 34.45% respectively)(6). Conclusion The oils from the rhizomes of H. ellipticum and E. littolaris consisted mainly of monoterpenes and sesquiterpene hydrocarbons as well as oxygenated monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. The high percetage of 1,8-cineol in the rhizome oils of H. ellipticum may be used as an indicator of the Genus. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report for the chemical compositions of the rhizome oils of E. littolaris and may be used as foundation for further chemotaxonomic studies on the genus. Table 1 Chemical composition of the essential oils from H. ellipticum and E. littoralis Content (%) Compounds MW H. ellipticum E. littolaris Origanene 136.13 0.11 - α-Pinene 136.13 0.83 0.91 Camphene 136.13 0.11 0.56 2,4(10)-Thujadiene 134.11 0.06 - β-Pinene 136.14 1.20 - 1,8-Cineole 154.14 83.90 19.57 γ-Terpinene 136.13 0.20 - cis-Linalool oxide 170.13 0.21 - L-Fenchone 152.12 0.05 - α-Terpinolene 136.13 0.07 - β-Linalool 154.14 0.27 0.85 Thujone 152.12 0.12 1.72 Fenchol, exo- 154.14 0.14 - 2-Cyclohexen-1-ol 154.14 0.07 - (1S)-Camphor 152.12 0.22 - Pinocarveol 152.12 0.55 1.75 Sabina ketone 138.10 0.21 - Bicyclo[2.2.1]heptan-3-one, 6,6-dimethyl-2-methylene- 150.10 0.06 - Borneol 154.14 0.14 - Terpinen-4-ol 154.14 1.37 2.51 thymol 150.10 0.75 - Table 1 Continued Content (%) Compounds MW H. ellipticum E. littolaris α-terpineol (p-menth-1-en-8-ol) 154.14 1.26 4.73 α-Pinene-10-ol 152.12 0.64 - trans-Carveol 152.12 0.17 0.37 propanal, 2-methyl-3-phenyl- 148.09 0.14 0.76 carvone 150.10 0.10 - 2-Octen-1-ol, 3,7-dimethyl- 156.15 0.06 0.41 Piperitone 152.12 0.02 - Carvenone 152.12 0.03 0.87 Perillyl aldehyde 150.10 0.04 0.16 2-Caren-10-al 150.10 0.03 - Cumyl alcohol 150.10 0.10 - Perillic alcohol 152.12 0.13 0.58 Isothymol 150.10 0.17 - 1,4-p-Menthadien-7-ol 152.12 0.04 - Dihydro-.gamma.-ionone 194.17 0.03 - Methyl eugenol ether 178.10 0.02 - Cyperene 204.19 - 2.14 Dihydro-.alpha.-ionone 205.19 0.03 - allo-Aromadendrene 206.19 0.04 - α-Guaiene 207.19 0.03 1.35 γ-Maaliene 208.19 0.03 0.33 Spathulenol 209.19 0.33 34.79 Ledol 210.19 0.07 2.06 Germacrene B 211.19 0.56 - Cadalin 212.19 0.08 - 2-Dodecanone 213.19 0.18 0.60 n-Hexadecanoic acid 214.19 0.04 8.51 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The financial supports from the Center of Excellence for Innovation in Chemistry (PERCH- CIC) and the Graduate School Chiang Mai University are gratefully acknowledged. 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