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Gas chromatography combined with mass spectrometry, flame ionization detection and elemental analyzer/isotope ratio mass spectrometry for characterizing and detecting the authenticity of commercial essential oils of Rosa damascena Mill.


Correspondence to: F. Pellati, Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via G. Campi 183, 41125 Modena, Italy.


Correspondence to: F. Camin, Food Quality and Nutrition Department, IASMA Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, Via E. Mach, 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige (TN), Italy.




The essential oil of Rosa damascena Mill. is known for its fine perfumery application, use in cosmetic preparations and for several pharmacological activities. Due to its high value, it can be easily adulterated with flavors or cheaper oils. This study is aimed at a detailed phytochemical characterization of commercial samples of R. damascena essential oil and at their authenticity assessment.


Nineteen commercial samples of R. damascena essential oil of different geographic origin and an additional authentic one, directly extracted by hydro-distillation from fresh flowers, were considered. GC/MS and GC/FID techniques were applied for the phytochemical analysis of the samples. EA/IRMS (Elemental Analyzer/Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry) and GC/C (Combustion)/IRMS were used to determine the δ13C composition of bulk samples and of some specific components.


Citronellol (28.7–55.3%), geraniol (13.5–27.3%) and nonadecane (2.6–18.9%) were the main constituents of Bulgarian and Turkish essential oils, while those from Iran were characterized by a high level of aliphatic hydrocarbons (nonadecane: 3.7–23.2%). The δ13C values of bulk samples were between −28.1 and −26.9‰, typical for C3 plants. The δ13C values of specific components were in the usual range for natural aromatic substances from C3 plants, except for geranyl acetate, which displayed higher values (up to −18‰). These unusual δ13C values were explained by the addition of a natural cheaper oil from a C4 plant (Cymbopogon martinii, palmarosa), which was found to occur in most of the essential oils.


GC/C/IRMS, in combination with GC/MS and GC/FID, can be considered as an effective and reliable tool for the authenticity control of R. damascena essential oil. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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