Volatile composition of essential oils from dill, parsley, coriander, and mint were investigated at different harvest dates to determine the most suitable harvest time for each these herbs. Hydrodistillation (HD), using a Deryng system, was used for isolating the essential oils. Isolation and identification of the volatile compounds were performed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) instrument. The results of gas chromatography-flame ionization detector (GC-FID) analysis (quantification) showed that the main components in the essential oil of dill shoots were α-phellandrene, dill ether, and β-phellandrene, and the optimal harvest date was D2 (second harvest, fourth week of February 2015). For parsley shoots, the main compounds were 1,3,8-p-menthatriene, β-phellandrene, and P1 (first harvest, third week of November 2014) was the sample with the highest essential oil. For coriander, the main compounds were E-2-dodecenal, dodecanal, and octane and the highest contents were found at C2 (second harvest, 5 February 2015); while, the main two components of mint essential oil were carvone and limonene, and the highest contents were found at M1 (first harvest, second week of December 2014). The present study was the first one reporting data on descriptive sensory analysis of aromatic herbs at this optimal harvest date according to the content of volatile compounds of their essential oils.
Keywords: GC-MS; coriander; descriptive sensory analysis; dill; mint; parsley.