Monday, June 18, 2007
Golden Eagle Eyrie (Boise Centre on the Grove)

Quantitative studies of guaiazulene, a bioactive component in Abies procera (Noble Fir) needle oil

Esther Mintzer1, Anne Kizerian1, Karen Grant1, and Joe Karchesy2. (1) Columbia Basin College, Pasco, WA, (2) Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

The volatile and semi-volatile constituents of Abies procera needle oil were reported previously, as was the identification by GC-MS of the compound guaiazulene, which is the source of the blue color of the oil after six to eight hours of distillation. Guaiazulene in both the amber and blue oils was quantified via GC-MS using a standard. A reflux study was also carried out to determine if guaiazulene is an artifact of the distillation process or actually present in the needles. When the amber oil is refluxed in water, as a simulation of distillation, its guaiazulene content increases with increasing reflux time. The latter is convincing evidence that the guaiazulene seen in the blue oil is actually formed during the steam distillation process via thermal degradation or rearrangement of other compounds in the oil.