Field and laboratory experiments were conducted during the summers of 2001 and 2002 in two locations in Nova Scotia to identify the effect of cultivar, transplanting date, and drying (air-drying and freeze-drying) on basil (Ocimum basilicum `Mesten' and `Italian Broadleaf', and O. sanctum `Local') productivity and oil quality in Nova Scotia and to identify the potential of growing basil as a cash crop in this region. Results suggested that all of the tested cultivars of basil grown in Nova Scotia had acceptable yields and composition for the international commercial market. Greater yields (ranging from 3.6 to 19.8 t·ha-1) were achieved from `Mesten' and `Italian Broadleaf' by earlier transplanting. `Local' had a lower oil content compared to the other cultivars. Linalool was the main component of `Mesten' oil, linalool and methyl chavicol were the main components of `Italian Broadleaf' oil, while elemene and α-humulene were the main components of `Local' oil. Both air-drying and freeze-drying were found to alter the composition of the essential oil from O. sanctum and O. basilicum.
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