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Chem Biodivers. 2009 Dec;6(12):2290-301. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.200900070.

HS-SPME/GC analysis reveals the population variability of terpene contents in Juniperus communis needles.

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Department of Biology and Pharmaceutical Botany, Medical University of Gdańsk, Hallera 107, PL-80416 Gdańsk, Poland.


Juniperus communis var. communis L. is an aromatic plant - typical boreal element of flora. In the extensive literature concerning J. communis, there is much data on the composition and the content of essential oil of needles and coneberries, but a detailed analysis of terpene distribution within and between populations is missing. A representative pool of 74 J. communis individuals originating from ten populations of Northern Poland was investigated in order to evaluate the intra- and interpopulational variability of the terpene pattern. Headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with GC/MS and GC/FID was applied in achiral and enantioselective analysis. The majority of the samples (85%), despite different origin, were similar in the terpene pattern. High diversity of terpenes was observed within the populations and low diversity between them. High variation of enantiomeric composition was in accordance with large variation of individual compounds in general (achiral analysis). J. communis samples from Northern Poland could be distinguished by the alpha-pinene/sabinene ratio, and they were divided into three chemical races.

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