Method for attaining fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) seed oil fractions with different composition and antioxidant capacity

Andy Burkhardt, Henry Y. Sintim, Archana Gawde, Charles L. Cantrell, Tess Astatkie, Valtcho D. Zheljazkov, Vicki Schlegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill) is cultivated for its seeds and foliage, which contain essential oil. We hypothesized that the collection of fennel seed oil at different time points during the distillation process may result in fennel oil with distinct composition and bioactivity. We collected essential oil from fennel seed at ten different distillation times, DT (at 2, 7, 15, 30, 45, 75, 105, 135, 165, and 195. min). Estragole (42.8-84.4% of the total oil) was the main constituent throughout the distillation. (-)-α-Pinene (0.12-0.84%) and (R)-(+)-limonene (6.3-33.5%) were relatively high at initial DT and dropped significantly after the first DT. (-)-Fenchone (0.5-4.1%) showed a near linear decrease until approximately the 165. min DT. If high (-)-α-pinene and (R)-(+)-limonene oil is desirable, then the oil fraction needs to be captured early in the distillation, at 2. min. Oil with highest estragole concentration may be obtained by collecting the oil eluted between 30 and 45. min. DT had an effect on the oil antioxidant activity; the oil from the control (195. min distillation time) had the highest antioxidant capacity (481. μmol. Trolox. equivalents/g), whereas the oil fraction sampled at 45. min DT had the lowest capacity (148. μmol. Trolox. equivalents/g). This study demonstrated an effective method for obtaining fennel seed oil fractions with differential composition and antioxidant capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-91
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Research on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Antioxidant capacity
  • Composition
  • Essential oil content
  • Estragole
  • Foeniculum vulgare
  • Hydrodistillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Drug Discovery


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