Steam distillation of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Oil

Johns M.R., Johns J.E. and Rudolph V. (1992) Steam distillation of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Oil. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 58 1: 49-53. doi:10.1002/jsfa.2740580109

Author Johns M.R.
Johns J.E.
Rudolph V.
Title Steam distillation of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Oil
Journal name Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1097-0010
Publication date 1992-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/jsfa.2740580109
Volume 58
Issue 1
Start page 49
End page 53
Total pages 5
Publisher John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Language eng
Subject 1305 Biotechnology
1106 Food Science
1102 Agronomy and Crop Science
2916 Nutrition and Dietetics
Abstract The steam distillation of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia Cheel) oil was investigated in a small batch still to ascertain the effect of operating variables on the yield, composition and rate of recovery of oil. Provided suitable distillation times (2–3 h) were used, the oil yield and composition did not vary with steam rate or pretreatment of the leaves by maceration. However, the rates of recovery of individual oil components were markedly affected. The results demonstrate that the oil components can be divided into two main groups according to their distillation behaviour. Oxygenated components, particularly terpinen‐4‐ol and 1,8‐cineole, are recovered the most rapidly, despite their high boiling points relative to other components. Their rates of recovery are increased with increasing steam rate, but are insensitive to leaf maceration. A second group of components, characterised by either a hydrophobic structure (the monoterpenes) or a larger molecular size (sesquiterpenes), exhibited the opposite behaviour. The rates of recovery of these components were unaffected by steam rate and improved by leaf maceration. It is hypothesised that the rate‐limiting processes for oxygenated and hydrophobic components are different. For the former, recovery is mass‐transfer film controlled, whereas the latter are diffusion controlled. This understanding provides the basis for manipulating oil quality by process conditions. Copyright
Keyword Essential oil
Steam distillation
Tea tree
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 14 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 17 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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