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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00012

Volatile Compounds in Citrus essential oils: A Comprehensive Review

  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Valencia, Spain
  • 2Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (IBMCP), Spain

The essential oil fraction obtained from the rind of Citrus spp is rich in chemical compounds of interest for the food and perfume industries, and therefore has been extensively studied during the last decades. In this manuscript we provide a comprehensive review of the volatile composition of this oil fraction and rind extracts for the ten most studied Citrus species: C. sinensis (sweet orange), C. reticulata (mandarin), C. paradisi (grapefruit), C. grandis (pummelo), C. limon (lemon), C. medica (citron), C. aurantifolia (lime), C. aurantium (bitter orange), C. bergamia (bergamot orange) and C. junos (yuzu). Forty-nine volatile organic compounds have been reported in all ten species, most of them terpenoid (90%), although about half of the volatile compounds identified in Citrus peel are non-terpenoid. Over 400 volatiles of different chemical nature have been exclusively described in only one of these species and some of them could be useful as species biomarkers. A hierarchical cluster analysis based on volatile composition arranges these Citrus species in three clusters which essentially mirrors those obtained with genetic information. The first cluster is comprised by C. reticulata, C. grandis, C. sinensis, C. paradisi and C. aurantium, and is mainly characterized by the presence of a larger abundance of non-terpenoid ester and aldehyde compounds than in the other species reviewed. The second cluster is comprised by C. junos, C. medica, C. aurantifolia and C. bergamia, and is characterized by the prevalence of mono- and sesquiterpene hydrocarbons. Finally, C. limon shows a particular volatile profile with some sulfur monoterpenoids and non-terpenoid esters and aldehydes as part of its main differential peculiarities. A systematic description of the rind volatile composition in each of the species is provided together with a general comparison with those in leaves and blossoms. Additionally, the most widely used techniques for the extraction and analysis of volatile Citrus compounds are also described.

Keywords: Citrus essential oil, rind, flower, leaves, volatile compounds, analytical methods

Received: 31 Oct 2018; Accepted: 07 Jan 2019.

Edited by:

Angelos K. Kanellis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Reviewed by:

David Obenland, United States Department of Agriculture, United States
Carlos A. Labate, University of São Paulo, Brazil  

Copyright: © 2019 González-Mas, Rambla, López-Gresa, Blázquez and Granell. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. M. Carmen González-Mas, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Valencia, València, Spain, carmen.gonzalez-mas@uv.es
Prof. Antonio Granell, Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (IBMCP), Valencia, Spain, agranell@ibmcp.upv.es