In vitro production of M. × piperita not containing pulegone and menthofuran
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The essential oils (EOs) and static headspaces (HSs) of in vitro plantlets and callus of Mentha x piperita were characterized by GC-MS analysis. Leaves were used as explants to induce in vitro plant material. The EO yields of the in vitro biomass were much lower (0.1% v/w) than those of the parent plants (2% v/w). Many typical mint volatiles were emitted by the in vitro production, but the callus and in vitro plantelet EOs were characterized by the lack of both pulegone and menthofuran. This was an important difference between in vitro and in vivo plant material as huge amounts of pulegone and menthofuran may jeopardise the safety of mint essential oil. Regarding the other characteristic volatiles, menthone was present in reduced amounts (2%) in the in vitro plantlets and was not detected in the callus, even if it represented the main constituent of the stem and leaf EOs obtained from the cultivated mint (26% leaves; 33% stems). The M. piperita callus was characterized by menthol (9%) and menthone (2%), while the in vitro plantlet EO showed lower amounts of both these compounds in favour of piperitenone oxide (45%). Therefore, the established callus and in vitro plantlets showed peculiar aromatic profiles characterized by the lack of pulegone and menthofuran which have to be monitored in the mint oil for their toxicity.
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