• hand-held NIR;
  • FT-NIR;
  • PLS;
  • essential oil content (EOC);
  • oregano



In the framework of a breeding programme, the analysis of hundreds of oregano samples to determine their essential oil content (EOC) is time-consuming and expensive in terms of labour. Therefore developing a new method that is rapid, accurate and less expensive to use would be an asset to breeders. The aim of the present study was to develop a method based on near-inrared (NIR) spectroscopy to determine the EOC of oregano dried powder. Two spectroscopic approaches were compared, the first using a hand-held NIR device and the second a Fourier transform (FT) NIR spectrometer.


Hand-held NIR (1000–1800 nm) measurements and partial least squares regression allowed the determination of EOC with R2 and SEP values of 0.58 and 0.81 mL per 100 g dry matter (DM) respectively. Measurements with FT-NIR (1000–2500 nm) allowed the determination of EOC with R2 and SEP values of 0.91 and 0.68 mL per 100 g DM respectively. RPD, RER and RPIQ values for the model implemented with FT-NIR data were satisfactory for screening application, while those obtained with hand-held NIR data were below the level required to consider the model as enough accurate for screening application.


The FT-NIR approach allowed the development of an accurate model for EOC prediction. Although the hand-held NIR approach is promising, it needs additional development before it can be used in practice. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry