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J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Jan;49(1):517-21.

Methyleugenol in Ocimum basilicum L. Cv. genovese gigante.

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  • 1Plant Biotechnology Laboratory, Advanced Biotechnology Center (CBA), Largo Rosanna Benzi 10, 16132 Genova, Italy.


Ocimum basilicum cv. Genovese Gigante is the basil cultivar used the most in the production of a typical Italian sauce called pesto. The aromatic composition of plants at different growth stages was determined. Plants from different areas of northwestern Italy were analyzed at 4 and 6 weeks after sowing and showed methyleugenol and eugenol as the main components. The content of these compounds was correlated with plant height rather than plant age. Particularly, methyleugenol was predominant in plants up to 10 cm in height, whereas eugenol was prevalent in taller plants. These results are important in the evaluation of risk to human health posed by dietary ingestion of methyleugenol contained in pesto.

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