The yield and essential oil content of mint (<em>Mentha ssp.</em>) in Northern Ostrobothnia
Aflatuni, Abbas (2005-05-31)
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita L.) oil is one of the most popular and widely used essential oils, mostly because of its main components menthol and menthone. Peppermint oil is used for flavouring pharmaceuticals and oral preparations. Corn mint is the richest source of natural menthol. Carvone-scented mint plants, such as spearmint (M. spicata), are rich in carvone and are widely used as spices, and they are cultivated in several countries. Studies were made into the yield and essential oil content of several mint species and the original. The general aim of the work was to examine the optimal conditions for cultivating mint in Northern Finland. The specific aims of the study were (first) to investigate the differences in the oil content for several mint species and (secondly) to compare the effect of various factors such as plant spacing (10, 20 and 30 × 50 cm), liming (0, 4, 8, 12 and 16 tons ha⁻¹), propagation methods (micropropagated and conventionally propagated plants) and harvest date (once at the end of August in comparison with first cut at the beginning of August and second cut in mid September) on the cultivation success, quality and quantity of the plants. The constituents of the essential oil were analysed from leaf samples using GC-MS.
Among the peppermints of different origins studied, peppermint of USA and Egypt origin (‘Black Mitcham’) contain the highest menthol and optimum oil yield. Corn mint and Sachalin mints both had high menthol content. Due to several reasons, such as no significant differences between the different densities and oil composition, markedly higher amount of weeds at 30 × 50 cm than at 10 × 50 and 20 × 50 cm spacing and the high seedling costs and the danger of fungi and disease at a 10 × 50 cm spacing, a plant optimum of 20 × 50 cm spacing is recommended for Northern Ostrobothnia. If the pH value is lower than 6, or levels of Mg and Ca are low, liming at a rate of 4–8 t ha⁻¹ for sandy soils in Finland is recommended in order to achieve higher fresh and oil yields. In the first year, there were no differences in the dry leaf yield of micropropagated and conventionally propagated plants, but the menthol content was significantly higher in conventionally than in micropropagated plants. In the second year, only the dry leaf yield of micropropagated plants was higher than that of their conventionally propagated counterparts. Cutting peppermint only once during full bloom (the end of August) gives the maximum oil yield of good quality. In conclusion, it is possible to achieve as high as or even higher oil quality and dry yield in North Ostrobothnia than it is in central Europe or south Asia. However, this requires observing certain cultivation factors such as having the right type of mint, soil pH, planting density, harvesting time and propagation method In addition, mints must be cultivated in the same place for only two and a maximum for three years.
- Avoin saatavuus