Isolation and Analysis of Essential Oils Using Gas Chromatography

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Isolation and Analysis of Essential Oils using Gas Chromatography

Lyndon Justin T. Guzman
Institute of Chemistry, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
Date Performed: February 2; February 4, 2011
Date Submitted: February 18, 2011


The purpose of this experiment is to isolate the essential oil from eucalyptus leaves as a pure compound; moreover, the components of the essential oil, camphor and limonene, will be then separated using gas chromatography technique, identify the components by their retention times, and compute for the concentration and percentage content of each component by their peak areas and peak heights. The volatile oil from eucalyptus leaves was isolated with the use of steam distillation setup,
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Since the total vapor pressure is the sum of the individual vapor pressures, the total vapor pressure must become equal to atmospheric pressure at a temperature below the boiling point of either pure substance (Ault, 1983). The mixture thus distills at a temperature below the boiling point of either pure component. This can be explained using a combination of Dalton’s and Raoult’s Law:

Patm = XAP°A + XBP°B

where Patm is the atmospheric pressure, XA and XB are the mole fractions of compounds A and B, and P°A and P°B are the vapor pressures of pure liquids A and B. Their individual contributions are dependent on their respective mole fractions, and both liquids contribute to the vapor pressure of the system (Institute of Chemistry, UPD, 2010).

In this experiment, a major constituent of volatile oils from eucalyptus leaves will be isolated as a pure compound with high purity via steam distillation. These essential oils are camphor and limonene and by using the gas chromatography technique, the different components of the eucalyptus essential oil will be separated. This experiment also aims to manipulate the gas chromatography system and change conditions in order to effectively and efficiently separate the components, and therefore achieve a good resolution. The components will be identified by determination of their retention times

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