Comparison of oil recovered from tea tree leaf by ethanol extraction and steam distillation

J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Sep;48(9):4041-3. doi: 10.1021/jf0004356.


Two methods for the determination of oil and oil major components from tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) leaf are quantitatively compared. A microwave assisted ethanol extraction and a 2-h hydrodistillation technique were used on both dry and fresh leaf from a low and a high oil concentration tree. There was no significant difference between dry and fresh leaf. The distillation technique recovered 88% and 82% of the extractable oil for the low and high concentration material, respectively. For both samples this distilled oil was composed of lower absolute amounts of sesquiterpenoids and marginally lower amounts of monoterpenoids. Extending the distillation to 6 h increased the sesquiterpenoid recovery but this resulted in a reduction in both the absolute and relative amounts of the oxygenated monoterpenoids, terpinen-4-ol and 1,8-cineole.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Ethanol / chemistry*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / isolation & purification*
  • Steam
  • Trees / chemistry*


  • Plant Oils
  • Steam
  • Ethanol