Melaleuca quinquenervia, Research Updates|

An examination of the leaf oils of Melaleuca quinquenervia over its geographical range in Australia and Papua New Guinea has shown wide variation in chemical composition but only two major chemotypes. Chemotype 1 is comprised of E-nerolidol (74–95%) and linalool (14–30%) and is found from Sydney, north along the east coast of Australia to Selection Flat, New South Wales, with an isolated occurrence near Maryborough, Queensland. Two divisions occur in this chemotype which are based on the presence or absence of significant proportions of linalool(14–40%). Chemotype 2 contains 1,8-cineole (10–75%), viridiflorol (13–66%), α-terpineol (0.5–14%) and β-caryophyllene (0.5–28%) in varying proportions and order of dominance in the oils. It is found throughout the distribution of the species, from Sydney to Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia. Within chemotype 2 there appears to be a continuous spread of oil composition without formation of any further discrete divisions as in chemotype 1.

Analyses have shown that M. quinquenervia trees that occur at latitudes south of 25°S have high oil yields (1–3% w/w%, fresh leaves) and comprise chemotypes 1 and 2. North of 25°S, however, chemotype 1 does not occur and oil yields amongst the Australian populations are uniformly low (0.1–0.2%).

Reference: Ireland, B.F.; Hibbert, D.B; Goldsack, R.J; Doran, J.C; Brophy,J.J (2002). “Chemical variation in the leaf essential oil of Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S.T. Blake”. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology: Volume 30, Issue 5. pp 457–470.

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