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<i>Origanum syriacum</i> Essential Oil Chemical Polymorphism According to Soil Type

El-Alam, Imad, Zgheib, Raviella, Iriti, Marcello, El Beyrouthy, Marc, Hattouny, Paul, Verdin, Anthony, Fontaine, Joël, Chahine, Ramez, Lounès-Hadj Sahraoui, Anissa, Makhlouf, Hassane
Foods 2019 v.8 no.3
Origanum syriacum, agricultural soils, biochemical polymorphism, biomass production, biosynthesis, carvacrol, chemotypes, composts, edaphic factors, essential oils, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, gastronomy, mycorrhizal fungi, oregano, potting mix, soil inoculation, staple foods, thymol, traditional medicine, vegetables, Lebanon
Background: Origanum syriacum L. is an aromatic plant growing wild in Lebanon. This species is highly used in Lebanese traditional medicine and is a staple food in Lebanese gastronomy. Due to the over-harvesting, this species has become a cultivated crop rather than being collected from the wild. This study aims to evaluate the chemical polymorphism according to soil type. Methods: Plant samples were cultivated in different soil types including manure, potting mix, professional agriculture mixture, vegetable compost, nursery soils, and natural agricultural soil inoculated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. After 16 weeks of culture, fresh shoot biomass was measured. Root colonization rate was evaluated and foliar biomasses were used for essential oil (EO) extraction. EO yield was calculated and the identification of the main chemical compounds of EO samples was performed by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography&ndash;mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Results: Our findings revealed that the soil type affects the O. syriacum chemotype. Indeed, the EO samples could be divided into two groups: thymol chemotype group including manure and vegetable compost soils and non-sterilized non-inoculated EO samples, and the thymol/carvacrol chemotype including potting mix, professional agriculture mixture, nursery mixture, sterilized non-inoculated, non-sterilized inoculated, and sterilized inoculated EO samples. These results showed that manure and vegetable compost soils promoted thymol synthesis, whereas potting mix, professional agriculture mixture, and nursery mixture soils were thymol/carvacrol chemotype. Moreover, mycorrhizal inoculation increased carvacrol and reduced thymol productions in comparison to non-inoculated conditions. Additionally, mycorrhizal inoculation showed significant enhancements in mycorrhizal rates and shoot biomass production with respect to the non-sterilized soil. Conclusions: These variations confirm the influence of the edaphic conditions on the chemical components biosynthesis pathways of oregano plants. The results of this investigation could be used for determining optimal soil type, leading to a good quality herb production.