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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Dual Extraction of Essential Oil and Podophyllotoxin from Juniperus virginiana

Authors
item Gawde, Archana -
item Cantrell, Charles
item Zheljazkov, Valtcho -

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 14, 2009
Publication Date: June 1, 2009
Citation: Gawde, A.J., Cantrell, C.L., Zheljazkov, V.D. 2009. Dual Extraction of Essential Oil and Podophyllotoxin from Juniperus virginiana. Industrial Crops and Products. 30:276-280.

Interpretive Summary: J. virginiana L. (Family Cupressaceae) commonly called as Eastern Red Cedar is a widely distributed species in the USA and parts of Canada. J. virginiana heartwood is well known for its use of durable, termite resistant and insect resistant heartwood (redwood). The heartwood is also used for commercial production of essential oil, commonly termed as cedarwood oil. J. virginiana leaves also contain podophyllotoxin, a precursor lignan for anticancer compounds (Cushman et al., 2003). We hypothesized that dual extraction of essential oil and podophyllotoxin from the J. virginiana leaves may be possible, simultaneously or sequentially. Furthermore, we hypothesized that if podophyllotoxin is not degraded during steam distillation, it may be recoverable either from the distilled plant material or water from distillation. The present paper discusses the development of dual extraction procedure for essential oil and podophyllotoxin from J. virginiana leaves. This work demonstrated that both essential oil and podophyllotoxin can be extracted from the same biomass samples of J. virginiana leaves. It was found that the process of steam distillation of the essential oil did not degrade podophyllotoxin. Steam distillation of J. virginiana leaves could actually increase the yield of podophyllotoxin.

Technical Abstract: The leaves (needles) of Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) contain two important natural products: essential oil and podophyllotoxin. The hypothesis of this study was that it may be possible to extract both essential oil and podophyllotoxin from the leaves of the tree, by using a dual extraction method. Podophyllotoxin was obtained from the leaves following steam distillation of the leaves to produce the essential oil, indicating that steam distillation did not degrade podophyllotoxin. Furthermore, steam distillation improved the extraction of podophyllotoxin compared to the extraction of podophyllotoxin from un-distilled leaves. In addition, product with 6 % purity podophyllotoxin was obtained from the distilled plant material, thus establishing an industrially economic protocol for dual extraction of these two natural products. Our study demonstrated that J. virginiana leaves, currently a waste-product from the timber industry, could be sequentially extracted for essential oil and podophyllotoxin and utilized as a by-product instead. We also found that the J. virginiana heartwood (a traditional source for cedarwood essential oil) does not contain podophyllotoxin. This is the first study to report both podophyllotoxin and essential oil in J. virginiana, and the first report on the dual extraction of these two natural products from the same biomass samples.

Last Modified: 11/25/2014
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