Composition of Egyptian nerolì oil

Nat Prod Commun. 2011 Jul;6(7):1009-14.


The bitter orange flower oil (or neroli) is an essential product, largely used in perfumery. Neroli is obtained by hydrodistillation or steam distillation, from the flowers of bitter orange (Citrus aurantium L.). Since a long time neroli production is limited and its cost on the market is considerably high. The annual production in Tunisia and Morocco is ca. 1500 Kg, representing more than 90% of the worldwide production. A small amount ofneroli is also produced in Egypt, Spain and Comorros (not exceeding 150 kg totally). Due to the high cost, the producers and the users have tried to obtain less expensive products, with odor characters close to that of neroli oil to be used as substitute and sometimes as adulterants of the genuine oil. In this study are investigated five samples of Egyptian neroli oils produced in 2008 and 2009, in the same industrial plant, declared genuine by the producer. For all the samples the composition was determined by GC/FID and by GC/MS-LRI; the samples were also analyzed by esGC to determine the enantiomeric distribution of twelve volatiles and by GC-C-IRMS for the determination of the delta13C(VPDB) values of some mono and sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, alcohols and esters. The analytical procedures allowed to quantitatively determining 86 components. In particular the variation of the composition seems to be dependent on the period of production. In fact, the amount of linalool decreases from March to April while linalyl acetate presents an opposite trend, increasing in the same period. The RSD determined for the delta13C(VPDB) are very small (max. 3.89%), ensuring the authenticity of all samples. The results are also discussed in function of the limits provided by the European Pharmacopoeia (EP) (2004), AFNOR (1995) and ISO (2002) regulations for genuine neroli oils.

MeSH terms

  • Citrus / chemistry*
  • Egypt
  • Flowers / chemistry
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Seasons
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Terpenes / isolation & purification*


  • Plant Oils
  • Terpenes