Electron beam irradiation as a method for preservation of the chemical composition of medicinal and aromatic plants Conference Paper uri icon


  • Medicinal and aromatic herbs are widely consumed as infüsions, being used since the eariy ancient times as medicinal plants for different diseases, displaying antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties [l]. Electron beam irradiation is used for several purposes, being highlighted not only as decontamination but also as a preservation technique [2]. In this work the effects ofdifferent doses ofelectron beam (EB) irradiation (O kGy - contrai, l kGy and 10 kGy) on chemical and nutritional compounds oï ASoysia citrodora P., Melissa officinalis L., Melitüs melissophyllum L. and Mentha piperita L. was evaluated. The nutritional value was detennined by official methodologies for food analyses, determining the content of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and ash. Individual profiles of sugars were determined by HPLC-RI, fatty acids by GC-FID, organic acids by UFLC-PDA and tocopherols by HPLC-fluorescence. The proximate composition remained nearly unaffected, independently of plant species or irradiation dose. Regarding sugars profile, the main changes were a decrease in the disaccharides content, while an opposite behaviour was observed form the monomer units (probably originated after the lysis ofthe disaccharides). The most noticeable variations in organic acids were exhibited by the plant species with the highest contents in these molecules, particularly the decrease observed in M. officinalis and M. melissophyllum. Among tocopherols, a and P isoforms were the most susceptible to irradiation; using a l kGy dose tended to increase tocopherols' leveis m A. citrodora, while the 10 kGy dose had the same effect on M. melissophyllum. M. piperita presented higher tocopherols' leveis, independently of the dose. Finally, EB irradiated samples presented higher percentages ofmonounsaturated fatty acids than the control ones.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015