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Assessment of volatile compounds with emphasis on volatile allergens in selected dried medicinal plants using solid phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry

Lenka Burdejova and Eva Vitova

Institute of Analytical Chemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic



Received: 2 September 2019  Accepted: 30 November 2019


Medicinal plants are good sources of volatile compounds which give them aromatic flavour. However, on the other hand, they can also induce negative allergic reactions. The present study is focused on determination of volatile compounds with emphasis on volatile allergens in five medicinal plants: lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), mint (Mentha piperita), sage (Salvia officinalis), hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) and St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), produced in the Czech Republic. Solid-phase microextraction coupled to gas-chromatography–mass spectrometry was used for their determination. In total 52 volatile compounds were identified, monoterpenes were the predominant in all samples, followed by sesquiterpenes, alcohols, esters, hydrocarbons and acids. Six of the compounds identified (limonene, linalool, citronellol, geraniol, benzyl alcohol and eugenol) are considered as allergenic; the contents of limonene in mint, sage and hyssop, of linalool in lavender, mint and sage, of citronellol in sage and hyssop, and of benzyl alcohol in sage exceeded safe values recommended by legislation; so they could be considered as possible risk for sensitive individuals if extracts of these plants are used in cosmetics or in food products.

Graphic Abstract:

Keywords: Medicinal plants; Volatile compounds; Allergens; Solid phase microextraction; Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-019-01020-4


Chemical Papers 74 (5) 1679–1690 (2020)

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