Isolation of volatile oil from thyme (Thymbra spicata) by steam distillation

Hanci S., Sahin S., Yilmaz L.

NAHRUNG-FOOD, vol.47, no.4, pp.252-255, 2003 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 47 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/food.200390059
  • Journal Name: NAHRUNG-FOOD
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.252-255
  • Keywords: essential oil, steam distillation, Thymbra spicata, thyme, EXTRACTION


The effects of steam flow rate (1.03 and 0.64 L/h), distillation time, and particle size (0.50, 1.00, 2.05 mm) of Thymbra spicata on essential oil yield and sequence of extraction of compounds were studied. A logarithmic model fitted well to experimental data. The composition of the essential oil obtained by steam distillation was investigated for whole leaves only since the grinding had an adverse effect on yield. The oil obtained was very rich with respect to its carvacrol content. For both steam flow rates, oxygenated monoterpenes were recovered the most rapidly. Using whole leaves (2.05 mm) and a higher steam flow rate (1.03 L/h) for 75 min of distillation was chosen as the optimum which gives the lowest amount of monoterpene hydrocarbons, the complete recovery of oxygenated compounds, and the highest yield in a shorter time. Yield was 1.57% at this optimum condition. The oil was composed of 53.1% oxygenated compounds, 25.7% monoterpene hydrocarbons, 4.4% sesquiterpenes, and 14.1% p-cymene.