Essential oils have become an integral part of the flavour and fragrance industry, used extensively in applications such as personal care, cosmetics, food & beverages, nutraceuticals, and pharma. It is even more widely used today in traditional medicine and aromatherapy, which are some of the growing sectors in essential oil applications. The conventional applications for essential oils were strongly linked to their pleasing fragrance and ability to mask unpleasant odours, but there are many newer areas of applications emerging to further grow the market exponentially and redefine the expectations from essential oils.
A goldmine of opportunity
The transformation of healthcare practices from reactive to proactive as well as predictive care has led to a boom in the wellness industry. Subsequently, there is a surge in essential oil applications across various wellness products. A more focused scientific approach, in evaluating the individual oil components for their effectiveness in managing lifestyle-related risk factors, has led to the emergence of new opportunities for the growth of conventional oils as well as some niche products. This is clearly demonstrated by the2020 Mintel Report, which suggested an increased interest among US consumers for, hemp oil-based supplements and an increasing trend of new launches containing citrus oils.
It’s a green, green world we live in
An empowered consumer base is driving the demand for “Green labels” in consumer products, that are devoid of synthetic ingredients, and contain natural alternatives. The increased use of disruptive and innovative ingredients like floral, herb and bark oils — cherry blossom, honeysuckle, lavender, hemp, pine etc. — promote the aromatherapeutic effects in both oral care and personal care industry. Similarly, a growing interest can be tracked in functional fragrances with terpene isolates, essential oil components for antibiotic replacement in feed and in all-natural pet care products.
The integrity of the essential oil composition is, therefore, a determining factor in the application, while it is already established that essential oils components are highly unstable and prone to chemical conversions. Historically, manufacturers used synthetic additives to achieve this objective, but ‘the cleaner label’ movement has rippled into a growing demand for natural plant-based alternatives.
All eyes on Citrus
Citrus Oils are used extensively in various applications such as food & beverage flavouring, nutraceutical, and personal care. The food & beverage segment itself accounts for over 30% of the total citrus oil consumption.
But citrus oils are prone to fast oxidation and change in composition. In order to understand the impact of oxidation on citrus oils, a detailed study was conducted at Mane Kancor. As part of this study, many oils were evaluated for their oxidative and composition stability. Orange oils are one of the most popular citrus variants used extensively for various applications.
While we look at how orange oil behaves under oxidative stress it is clearly visible that it is highly prone to oxidation and conversions.
Oxidative Shelf-life of Orange Oil
Orange Oil was dosed with rosemary extract (namely OxiKan CL) and tested for its oxidative shelf-life using accelerated oxidative stability testing equipment: Oxitest. The results expressed in a number of hours called induction time is comparable to actual shelf-life in real-time and can be statistically extrapolated. The results, when compared with that of fresh orange oil under the same conditions, shows a clear advantage in the overall oxidative shelf-life of citrus oils from the use of rosemary extracts, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Accelerated Stability Study of Orange Oil
In order to understand the impact of this oxidative degradation in the composition of the oil, the fresh orange oil and the two samples of the oxidised oils were analysed in GC-MS (Gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy). The analysis clarified that the main component limonene had undergone oxidative conversions leading to a clear change in the overall oil composition.
Figure 2: Oxidation Products in Orange oil by GC-MS
This change could be arrested by the use of rosemary extracts, as detailed in figure 2. This change in limonene composition can be clearly understood in the loss of flavour or perception of rancidity in flavour products containing orange oil. Using a natural antioxidant solution like rosemary extracts will help ensure the composition integrity and flavour integrity throughout the shelf-life of the oil. With higher composition stability, the application opportunities for citrus oils with cleaner labels will be immense as ‘Green label’ claims continued growing.
Rosemary Extracts have long been hailed as an important source of natural antioxidant molecules. It has been widely used in the food category, primarily in meat and seasoning applications for over 30 years. However, the use of Rosemary Extracts in essential oil stability has been very limited, especially due to its high impact on the colour, and odour in the end application.
Mane Kancor’s OxiKan CL range of products are selectively extracted antioxidant molecules from rosemary extracts that do not impart any colour or odour upon application. It was recognized with the IFT Innovation Award in 2018 for being a breakthrough technology in the space of Natural Antioxidant Solutions.
*Product application, usage and dosages are subject to region-specific regulation.