A comparison between the oil, hexane extract and supercritical carbon dioxide extract of Juniperus communis L.

A comparison between the oil, hexane extract and supercritical carbon dioxide extract of Juniperus communis L.

Damjanovic, Biljana M


Volatile compounds from the berries of common juniper (Juniperus communis L.) were isolated by hydrodistillation, hexane extraction and supercritical CO2 extraction. The hydrodistillation yield was 2.17%, the hexane extraction yield 5.31% and supercritical CO2 extraction yield 0.96%. Their compositions were compared using GC/MS as the method of analysis. Analyses reveal that samples differ quantitatively and qualitatively. The concentrations of monoterpene hydrocarbons (alpha-pinene, sabinene, myrcene) were higher in the hydrodistilled oil, while some less volatile compounds were present in extracts, especially in the hexane extract.

Key Word Index

Juniperus communis, Cupressaceae, juniperberry, essential oil composition, hexane extract composition, CO, extract composition, alpha-pinene, sabinene, myrcene.


Common juniper (Juniperus communis L.) is an evergreen shrub or a small tree (1-3 in high). It grows ild in many parts of Europe, Asia, North America and Africa with temperate or cold climate. It is widespread all over the Balkan Peninsula and on high mountain slopes of Montenegro.

Juniper berry (Fructus juniperi) is a common juniper fruit used, in addition to its essential oil, in the liquor and food industry as a spice, in pharmacy, in aromatherapy and in perfume creation (1).

Some essential oils are traditionally produced by hydrodistillation although this method has some disadvantages, such as the heat instability of the oils and the loss of certain water– soluble components. The solvent extraction is useful for complete extraction, but inevitable problems are: the removal of the solvent residues from the extract, the denaturation of the oil as well as the environmental pollution by the organic solvents.

The extraction with fluids in supercritical conditions offers some advantages over the traditional methods of isolation. By varying the extraction conditions (i.e. the pressure and the temperature of the supercritical fluid) it is possible to change the extract composition, since the selectivity of the supercritical fluid is changed, too. CO2 is widely used, since it can be easily removed from the extracted material, it is inexpensive and nontoxic and its critical parameters offer the advantage of the extraction at relatively low temperatures (2).

The composition of J. communis berry oil has been subject of previous studies (3-6). In this paper, the comparative analysis of the extracts from common juniper berries from northern Montenegro obtained by hydrodistillation, hexane extraction and supercritical CO2 extraction is reported.


The authors wish to thank Danijela Sukovic and VladimirZivkovic (Center for Ecotoxicological Research, Podgorica, Yugoslavia) for GC/MS analyses and to Dragan Ostojic and Ljubomir Obradovic for supplying the juniper berries. We wish to express our gratitude to Ministry of Education and Science, Montenegro, Yugoslavia their financial support (through Project No. 05/1-3-1318).

1Part of this paper presented at the 2nd International Conference of the Chemical Societies of the South-Eastern European Countries, “Chemical Sciences for Sustainable Development.” Halkidiki, 6-9 June, 2000.


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Biljana M. Damjanovic*

Faculty of Metallurgy and Technology, University of Montenegro, Cetinjski put bb., 81000 Podgorica, Yugoslavia

Dejan Skala, Dusanka Petrovic-Djakov and Josip Baras

Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, University of Belgrade, Karnegjeva 4, 11000 Belgrade, Yugoslavia

*Address for correspondence

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