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Analysis of the essential oil of large cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb.) growing in different agro-climatic zones of Himachal Pradesh, India


Correspondence to: Ashu Gulati, CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology, Palampur 176 061, Himachal Pradesh, India. E-mail:



The aim of the present study was to investigate variations in the chemical composition of the essential oil from seeds of large cardamom grown at different altitudes in Himachal Pradesh, India. The composition of the essential oil was determined by gas chromatography (GC), gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and gas chromatography–olfactometry (GC-O).


The oil components showed qualitative and quantitative variations in the composition. GC and GC-MS analysis led to the identification of 55 compounds representing 98% of total oil. Major components in the oil were 1,8-cineole, α-terpineol, dl-limonene, nerolidol, 4-terpineol, δ-terpineol, δ-3-carene, β-myrcene, germacrene D, α-terpinene and longifolenaldehyde. The oil yields obtained were 9.8–19.5 g kg−1. Cardamom oil from Himachal Pradesh was found to contain new compounds, viz. 4-terpineol, δ-3-carene, trans-sabinene hydrate, 1-phellandrene, α-terpinene, bicyclo-germacrene, isopinocarveol and ledenoxid-II. α-Terpenyl acetate, the major constituent of small cardamom, was also detected in the oil of large cardamom grown in Himachal Pradesh. Application of aroma extract dilution analysis revealed 35 compounds having aroma impact with the flavour dilution factor ranging from 2 to 1024, and 34 of these compounds were identified. The five most intense aromatic components are dl-limonene, 1,8-cineole, β-myrcene, α-pinene, α-basabolol. This is the first time that the characterisation of odour-active compounds has been carried out on large cardamom.


The presence of 4-terpineol, δ-3-carene, trans-sabinene hydrate, 1-phellandrene, α-terpinene, 1-terpineol, bicyclogermacrene, isopinocarveol, ledenoxid-II, longifolenaldehyde and α-terpenyl acetate make the aroma of the oil different from large cardamom oil of Sikkim and could offer potential as a new food flavour.