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- Author or Editor: Henry Y. Sintim x
Japanese cornmint, also known as menthol mint (Mentha canadensis L. syn M. arvensis L.), is an essential oil crop cultivated in several countries in Asia and South America. The plant is currently the only commercially viable source for natural menthol as a result of the high concentration of menthol in the oil compared with other crops. The hypothesis of this study was that harvesting at regular intervals within a 24-hour period would have an effect on essential oil concentration and composition of Japanese cornmint grown at high altitude in northern Wyoming. Flowering plants were harvested every 2 hours on 7 to 8 Aug. and on 14 to 15 Aug. and the essential oil was extracted by steam distillation and analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy (GC-MS). The effects of harvest date (Harvest 1 and Harvest 2) and harvest time (12 times within a 24-hour period) were significant on oil concentration and yield of menthol, but only harvest date was significant on the concentration of menthol in the oil. The interaction effect of harvest date and harvest time was significant on water content and on the concentrations of menthol and menthofuran in the oil and on the yield of limonene, menthol, and menthofuran. Overall, the oil concentration in grams per 100 g dried material for the two harvests (1.26 and 1.45, respectively), the concentration of menthol in the oil (67.2% and 72.9%, respectively), and menthol yield (1066 to 849 mg/100 g dried biomass) were higher in plants at Harvest 2 as compared with plants at Harvest 1. The oil concentration was higher in plants harvested at 1100 hr or at 1300 hr and lowest in the plants harvested at 1500 hr. Menthol yield was the highest in plants harvested at 1300 hr and lowest in the plants harvested at 0700 hr, 1900 hr, or at 0300 hr. This study demonstrated that harvesting time within a 24-hour period and harvest date (maturity of the crop) may affect essential oil concentration and composition of Japanese cornmint grown at high altitude in northern Wyoming.