A steam distillation extraction kinetics experiment was conducted to estimate essential oil yield, composition, antimalarial, and antioxidant capacity of cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.) seed (fruits). Furthermore, regression models were developed to predict essential oil yield and composition for a given duration of the steam distillation time (DT). Ten DT durations were tested in this study: 5, 7.5, 15, 30, 60, 120, 240, 360, 480, and 600 min. Oil yields increased with an increase in the DT. Maximum oil yield (content, 2.3 g/100 seed), was achieved at 480 min; longer DT did not increase oil yields. The concentrations of the major oil constituents α-pinene (0.14-0.5% concentration range), β-pinene (3.7-10.3% range), γ-cymene (5-7.3% range), γ-Terpinene (1.8-7.2% range), cumin aldehyde (50-66% range), α-Terpinen-7-Al (3.8-16% range), and β-Terpinen-7-Al (12-20% range) varied as a function of the DT. The concentrations of α-pinene, β-pinene, γ-cymene, γ-Terpinene in the oil increased with the increase of the duration of the DT; α-pinene was highest in the oil obtained at 600 min DT, β-pinene and γ-Terpinene reached maximum concentrations in the oil at 360 min DT; γ-cymene reached a maximum in the oil at 60 min DT, cumin aldehyde was high in the oils obtained at 5-60 min DT, and low in the oils obtained at 240-600 min DT, α-Terpinen-7-Al reached maximum in the oils obtained at 480 or 600 min DT, whereas β-terpinen-7-Al reached a maximum concentration in the oil at 60 min DT. The yield of individual oil constituents (calculated from the oil yields and the concentration of a given compound at a particular DT) increased and reached a maximum at 480 or 600 min DT. The antimalarial activity of the cumin seed oil obtained during the 0-5 and at 5-7.5 min DT timeframes was twice higher than the antimalarial activity of the oils obtained at the other DT. This study opens the possibility for distinct marketing and utilization for these improved oils. The antioxidant capacity of the oil was highest in the oil obtained at 30 min DT and lowest in the oil from 360 min DT. The Michaelis-Menton and the Power nonlinear regression models developed in this study can be utilized to predict essential oil yield and composition of cumin seed at any given duration of DT and may also be useful to compare previous reports on cumin oil yield and composition. DT can be utilized to obtain cumin seed oil with improved antimalarial activity, improved antioxidant capacity, and with various compositions.
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