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  • Writer's pictureEssential Stills

Laboratory QC Analysis for Essential oil content (Part 1)

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

It is important to perform a QC check out any crop that you are going to distil for several reasons:

Firstly, this analysis will give you an idea of how much essential oil you should expect from your crop when it is distilled in commercial quantities. You can then ensure that you have enough aluminium flasks etc. available for the storage of the oil.

Secondly you can determine the correct harvesting time for optimum yield or aroma. Whilst the need to maximise the yield is obvious, the latter property is particularly important for certain essential oils, when a particular component with a highly desirable fragrance may only appear for a certain short period during the flowering cycle. Regular testing will enable the distiller to find the best time to harvest and this is likely to be a compromise between yield and aroma.

Thirdly it will enable the distiller to determine what agricultural areas are fine for planting, what areas will need e.g. added irrigation or fertilizer - and what areas should not be planted up at all for essential oil production.

Finally it enables the distiller to check out new varieties of crop or even check out new interesting plants to see what amount of essential oil is present and to see if it has any fragrance or flavouring potential.

The apparatus needed for QC testing of essential oil plants is as follows:

1. High quality CE Approved 2000 ml Heating Mantle with integral control panel

2. Pyrex 2000ml round bottom flask with 100mm flange opening.

3. Pyrex flange lid 100mm with central socket and angled side arm socket.

4. Pyrex stopper to seal off additional lid socket.

5. Pyrex custom-made Dean & Stark apparatus for essential oil separation and removal.

6. Pyrex custom-made ‘Graham’ condenser to fit the Dean & Stark apparatus.

7. Stainless steel clip to secure the two flanges together.

8. Heavy duty laboratory stand with10mm diameter rod.

9. Customised clamp with integral adjustable boss

10. Silicone grease for the ground glass joints.

11. Flexible tubing 6mm internal diameter for the condenser water.

12. Weighing scales accurate to 0.1g with a 500g capacity.

Assembly and operational instructions will appear in the next blog.

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