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Kelly M. Bowes and Valtcho D. Zheljazkov

Field and laboratory experiments were conducted at two sites in Nova Scotia during 2001 and 2002 to assess the potential to grow fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) as an essential oil crop in the Maritime region of Canada. Three cultivars—`Shumen', `Berfena', and `Sweet Fennel'—and two seeding dates—24 May and 8 June—were evaluated. Essential oil yields and composition were determined and compared to commercially available fennel essential oil from the U.S. The highest herbage yields were produced by `Shumen' from the earlier seeding date. Essential oil content and yields were lowest in `Sweet Fennel' and highest in `Shumen'. The major component of the essential oil was anethole, 47% to 80.2%. Other major components of the essential oil were methyl chavicol, fenchone, α-phellandrene, α-pinene, ortho cymene, β-phellandrene, fenchyl acetate, β-pinene, and apiole. The essential oil composition was unique to each cultivar. The highest methyl chavicol content was in `Shumen', while the highest concentration of phellandrene, fenchyl acetate and apiole were detected in `Sweet Fennel' oil. Fenchone, ortho cymene, β-pinene, α-phellandrene, and α-pinene were the highest in `Berfena'. The composition of the oil was similar to the commercially purchased oil and met industry requirements of oil composition. The results suggest there is potential to grow fennel as an essential oil crop in Nova Scotia.

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Kelly M. Bowes and Valtcho D. Zheljazkov

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.