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Phytochemistry. 2004 May;65(9):1255-64.

Essential oils from New Zealand manuka: triketone and other chemotypes of Leptospermum scoparium.

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New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Limited, Invermay Agricultural Centre, Private Bag 50034, Mosgiel, New Zealand.


The triketone chemotype of manuka, Leptospermum scoparium (Myrtaceae), is commercially important because of its antimicrobial activity. Oils from 36 individual plants on the East Cape of New Zealand all showed similar high triketone contents (>20% total triketones) with little seasonal variation. Analyses of oils from 261 individual manuka plants collected from 87 sites throughout New Zealand showed that the high triketone chemotype was localised on the East Cape, although oils with triketone levels up to 20% were found in the Marlborough Sounds area of the South Island. Cluster analysis revealed other chemotypes localised on other areas. Ten further chemotypes are described: alpha-pinene; sesquiterpene-rich with high myrcene; sesquiterpene-rich with elevated caryophyllene and humulene; sesquiterpene-rich with an unidentified sesquiterpene hydrocarbon; high geranyl acetate; sesquiterpene-rich with high gamma-ylangene + alpha-copaene and elevated triketones; sesquiterpene-rich with no distinctive components; sesquiterpene-rich with high trans-methyl cinnamate; high linalol; and sesquiterpene-rich with elevated elemene and selinene. Some of the chemotypes contained aroma compounds at relatively high levels, with a geranyl acetate-rich oil being most notable. Possible origins for this complex array of chemotypes are proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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