Yield and composition of Ocimum basilicum L and Ocimum sanctum L grown at four locations

Zheljazkov,V.D.; Cantrell,C.L.; Evans,W.B.; Ebelhar,M.W.; Coker,C.

HortScience 3: 737-741


ISSN/ISBN: 0018-5345
Accession: 024148951

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Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) and holy basil (Ocimum sanctum L.) are the most widely grown basil species in the world either for the fresh market or for essential oil production. Both species are considered to be promising essential oil crops in the southeastern United States; however, research on oil production and composition of these species in Mississippi and the southeastern United States is lacking. The objective of this study was to evaluate biomass productivity, oil content, and oil composition of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) cvs. German and Mesten and holy basil (Ocimum sanctum L.) cv. Local grown at four locations in Mississippi. Overall, the three basil cultivars grew well; the fresh herbage and essential oil yields at three of the locations were high and comparable to basil yields reported in the literature. Essential oil content in air-dry herbage and the essential oil yields were as follows: 0.07% to 0.50% and 0.7 to 11.0 kg.ha-1 in sweet basil cv. Mesten, 0.2% to 0.5% and 1.4 to 13.0 kg.ha-1 in sweet basil cv. German, and 0.08% to 0.40% and 0.6 to 5.3 kg.ha-1 in holy basil cv. Local, respectively. The main constituent of sweet basil cultivars was (-)-linalool with other constituents being (-)-camphor, alpha -humulene, eucalyptol, eugenol, (-)-bornyl acetate, methyl chavicol, (-)-trans-caryophyllene, alpha -trans-bergamotene, and cadinol. The main constituents of holy basil were methyl chavicol, eugenol, and eucalyptol with other constituents being alpha -humulene, humulene-epoxide II, (-)-trans-caryophyllene, alpha -trans-bergamotene, and gamma -cadinene. Our results suggest sweet and holy basils have a potential as new essential oil crops for Mississippi and possibly the southeastern United States and can provide oil yields and composition typical for the respective species.