Content and composition of essential oil and content of rosmarinic acid in lemon balm and balm genotypes (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) is used since ancient times because of its sedative, spasmolytic and antiviral effects. Its therapeutic impact is due to the content of essential oil and rosmarinic acid. A set of 68 M. officinalis genotypes was evaluated for content and composition of essential oil and the content of rosmarinic acid. For all genotypes the level of ploidy was determined. The 68 genotypes were clone plants grown and evaluated for two years at Quedlinburg. For analysis of secondary metabolites distillation, gas chromatography and high performance liquid chromatography was used. The content of essential oil varied in this study in ranges from 0.03 to 0.33% for the second cut 2010 and 0.01–0.35% for the second cut 2011. The rosmarinic acid content ranged in the year 2010 from 3.67 to 7.55% and in the year 2011 from 4.92 to 8.07%. Via statistical analyses two chemotypes of essential oil were found: chemotype citral and chemotype β-caryophyllene oxide. Ploidy was determined for all genotypes and two cytotypes were found: diploid 2n = 2x = 32 (62 of 68 genotypes) and triploid 2n = 3x = 48 (6 of 68 genotypes).