Impact of Industrialization

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Utilization of Aromatic Plants And Derived Products

The techniques of essential oils extraction from aromatic plants have been known for thousands of year. These essen-tial oils have been used in home-made perfumes, scented water, traditional medicine, etc. These plants were normally grown in the backyard and collected for use whenever there was a need.




The techniques of essential oils extraction from aromatic plants have been known for thousands of year. These essential oils have been used in home-made perfumes, scented water, traditional medicine, etc. These plants were normally grown in the backyard and collected for use whenever there was a need. With the advance of industrialization through large-scale production and modern facilities for processing and utilization, aromatic plants and their products have become very popular. However, as production costs become more and more expensive, it is necessary to come up with practical solution, i.e. the invention of synthetic compounds that are almost the same as natural materials. This has considerably reduced the use of natural flavour and fragrant materials.


Volatile Oil


A substance of oily consistency and feel, derived from a plant and containing the principle to which the odour and taste of the plant are due (essential oils), in contrast to a fatty oil, a volatile oil evaporates when exposed to the air and thus is capable of distillation It may also be obtained by expression or extraction as many volatile oils identical to or closely resembling the natural oils can be made synthetically. This is also known as ethereal oil.


The essential oils industry was traditionally a cottage industry in India. Since 1974, a number of industrial companies have been established for large-scale production of essential oils, oleo resins and perfume. The essential oils from plants being produced in India include ajwain oil, cedar wood oil, celery oil, citronella oil, davana oil, eucalyptus oil, geranium oil, lavender oil, lemon grass oil, mentha oil, palmarosa oil, patchaouli rose oil, sandal wood oil, tur-pentine oil and vetiver oil. The manufacture of turpentine oil and resin from pine is a sizable and well-established industry in India having 10,000–25,000 tones annual production of the oil—α-pinine and δ-3-carene being two vital components produced from the oil.α-Ionone from lemongrass oil for perfumery and β-ionone for vitamin A synthesis are produced in India . Before 1960, menthol was not produced in India but the introduction of Japanese mint,Mentha arvensis and subsequent improvements therefore enabled India to produces over 500 tones of menthol, and now tops the world market in export of natural menthol. Although the production of major oils is highly organized as a number of developing countries have volatile oil rich flora not fully utilized or cultivated.


Essential Oils


The chemical components of essential oils can be divided into two main categories: the hydrocarbon monoterpenes, diterpenes and sesquiterpenes, as well as some oxides, phenolics and sulphur- and nitrogen-containing material. Common terpenes include limonene, which occurs in most citrus oils and the antiseptic pine, found in pine and terpene oils. Important sesquterpenes include chamzulene and farnesene, which occur in chamomile oil and which have been widely studied for antiinflammatory and bactericidal properties.


The extensive occurrence of ester in essential oils includes linalyl acetate, which is a component of bergamot and lavender, and geranyl acetate that is found in sweet marjoram. Other common esters are the bornyl, eugenyl and lavendulyl acetate. The characteristic fruity aromas of esters are claimed to have sedative and fungicidal properties.


Aldehydes are also clamed to have sedative properties, the most common being citralnellal and neral found in lemon scanted oils; citral also has antiseptic properties. Equally pungent to the aldehydes in many instances are the ketones, such as jasmone and funchone found in jasmine and fennel oil, respectively. Ketones, such as camphor, carnone, methone and pine comphone, found in many proprietary preparations are effective in upper respiratory tract complaints. However, some ketones are also among the more toxic components of essential oils, and are found in pennyroyal and buchu.


The alcohol within essential oils is generally nontoxic. Commonly occurring terpene alcohols include citronellal found in rose, lemon and eucalyptus, also geramnial, bornenol, fornenesol, menthol, nerol and linalool occur-ring in rose wood and lavender. Alcohol has antiseptic and antiviral properties, and in aromatherapy, they are claimed to have an uplifting quality


A wide range of oxides occur in essential oils including ascaridol, bisabolol and bisaleolone oxides and linalool oxide from hyssop. The most important oxide, however, is cineole. Also known as eucalyptus oil, it occurs extensively in other oils such as bey laurel, rosemary and cajuput. It is used medicinally for its expectorant properties. Utilization of essential oils in different industries has been summarized in Figure below.


                                Utilization of essential oils

Indian scenario


India is one of the few countries in the world having varied agro climatic zones suitable for the cultivation of a host of essential oils bearing plants. Due to increased awareness of health hazards associated with synthetic chemicals coupled with the increase coast of petroleum products, the use of essential oils has been gradually increasing. The consumers are showing increasing preference for natural material over the synthetic. During the last few years with the spurt in the production of essential oils, it is emerging as a potential agro-based industry in India. At present in India about 30% of the fine chemical used annually in perfumes and flavours come from essential oils. The total consumption of perfumery and flavourings material in India is abut 3,800 MT/annum valued at Rs. 100 crore. Food, dental, pharmaceutical flavours share is around 700 MT, and the rest represents perfumery. The estimated production of perfumery raw material is around 500 tones/annum valued at Rs. 400 crore. According to Trade Development Author-ity of India, the total production of fragrance excluding formulation for captive consumption by the user industry is about Rs. 120 crore/annum. A number of essential oils form palmarosa, citronella, ginger grass, basil, mint, lemon grass, eucalyptus, cedar wood, lavender oil, davana oil, celery seed oil, fennel and other oils have been widely used in a variety of products in India. Out of these the essential oils currently being produced in India are oil of citronella, lemongrass, basil, mint, sandalwood, palmarosa, eucalyptus, cedar wood, vetiver and geranium. Rose oil, lavender, davana oil, oil of khus and ginger grass are produced in small quantities. During last forty year, the importance of developing essential oils bearing plants is being increas-ingly realized. With the introduction of Japanese mint and subsequent improvement there upon, India produces 5,000 tones of menthol valued at Rs. 100 crore and is one of the leading menthol-producing country. Presently, the areas under mint cultivation are estimated to be around 40,000 hectares, mainly in U.P., Punjab, Haryana and to some extent in Bihar and M.P. The export of essential oils during the year 1991–92 has been Rs. 53.6 crore as against Rs. 40 crore during the year 1990–91, thereby registering an increases of 37% over the last year. An amount of Rs. 61 crore has been saved in foreign exchange annually by means of production of certain oils of mint, aromatic grass, linalool, geranium, lavender and rose oil during 1991–92. With the increase in production of above essential oils, it would be possible for the country to save more valuable foreign exchange in the coming years.


The magic items of export are ginger oil, sandal wood oil, lemon grass oil, jasmine oil and other essential oils. During the year 1991–92, export of sandalwood oil has registered a recorded figure of Rs. 13 crore compared to Rs. 6.2 crore during 1990–91. The major buyers of Indian essential oils being Russia, United States, France, UK, Netherlands, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Morocco, Germany, Australia, Pakistan, Korea, and Taiwan, etc. Similarly, citronella oil pro-duction has reached 500 tons when it was totally imported 55 years ago. Also jasmine and tuberose concentrate from south India have created a marks in world marked. Thus, an interesting scenario in the development of natural essential oils in India has enraged.


World scenario


India ranks 26th in import and 14th in respect of export in world in the trade of essential oils. United States, France and Germany are the top three countries in the world in the trade of essential oils. India holds around 7% of import and 1.1% of export. The values of export from India during 1991–92 to three major countries like United States, France and Germany have been to the tune of Rs. 21.2 crore with major share going to United States (Rs. 8.2 crore) and France (Rs. 7.39 crore).


The world trade in essential oils and its product is vast, and the oils of major importance are aniseed, citronella, clove, geranium, lemon grass, peppermint oil, patchouli, sandal-wood, vetiver, mint oil, lemongrass and palmorosa, etc.


Future demand


Approximately 90% of the present requirement of essential oils in the country is met by the indigenous production and 10% from import. In 1950, the production was hardly 7,580 tones, which has since been rising to 8,000 tones. This has been both vertical and horizontal growth in the production of essential oils. Peppermint, spearmint and other mint oil constitute 68% of total volume of production of essential oils in the country. Other important varieties which constitute 28% of the total production are basil oil, citronella oil, eucalypts oil, lemongrass, palmorosa, and sandalwood and vitever oil. The annual growth rate of pharmaceutical industry in terms of volume and value is expected to be between 11% and 13% in the next five years. The other important sector showing rapid expan-sion is the processed food industry particularly ice cream and confectionery items. Fragrance finds use in toiletries and personal care products. Volume wise toiletries consti-tute 90% of all these products. The annual production of toiletries has been estimated by Toilet Makers Association from 3.5 lakh tones in 1991 to 4.8 lakh tones in 1995, at an annual growth rate of 8%. The requirement of essential oils by consumer industries under fragrances, flavour and aroma chemicals are 60%, 20% and 20%, respectively.


The association of essential oils manufactures estimated growth in export value from Rs. 50 corer in 1991–92 to Rs. 125 corer in 1995–96. India ranks 14th in the world export trade, and its share being at an average 0.6–0.8% of the total. These are an ample room for penetration into the foreign market especially to the newly developing countries of the middle and for east.


Export of major essential oils from India


Mentha arvensis and mint oil, cedar wood oil, clove oil, euca-lyptus oil, tuberose concentrate, palmarosa oil, patchouli oil, sandalwood oil, lemongrass oil, davana oil, coriander oil, dill oil, spearmint oil, rose oil, Mentha piperita, jasmine concentrate, Jasmine oil.


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