The Apiaceae family consists of several species which are well known for their therapeutical use and also as spice plants. Although fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.), caraway (Carton carvi L.), anise (Pimpinella anisum L.), coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.), dill (Anethum graveolens L.), angelica ...>(Angelica archangelica L.) and lovage (Levisticum officinale Koch.) are also economically considerable cultures, data on their flowering biology are rather scarce. This review supports data on the characteristic constitution of flowers and inflorescences, flowering dynamics, pollination mechanism and crossability of some of the most significant medicinal and spice species.
The inflorescence is a compound umbel. Flowers are hermaphrodite, however also monoeceous, mainly male flowers are turning up too. In blooming of a plant individual, a strict sequence is observed. The main umbel is the first to bloom, followed by the different range umbels in order of their range. In their pollination, both wind and insects are considered to be active. For each species, proterandry is characteristic. Although autogamy is considered to be almost unpossible, and geintonogamy as well as xenogamy to be the most characteristic ways of fertilization, several cases of self-fertilization proved to be also successful. Crossability among cultivars or species is depending on the genotype combination and usually produces less seed set than the above forms of fertiliiation.
Authors dealt more than ten years with the analysis of supercritical extracts. For extraction (SFE) carbon dioxide was used as supercritical solvent. Fractionation of extracts was carried out by releasing the separations pressure at two stages. The extracts were collected as separate samples successively in time.
The traditional extract...ions were carried out with steam distillation or by using n-hexane and ethanol in Soxhlet apparatus. For the analysis of volatile compounds GC, GC-MS; of non volatile compounds TLC-densitometry and spectroscopic methods were used.
The following general characteristics were established comparing the composition of steam distillated oils with that of volatile SFE fractions. The SFE fractions were richer in monoterpene-esters and poorer in alcohols than the essential oils prepared by traditional way (clary sage, lavandel). Regarding the distributi,n of the monoterpene and sesquiterpene compounds, the SFE fractions contained sesquiterpene hydrocarbon in higher percentage than the distillated oils (e.g. 13-caryophyllene in Salvia fruticosa, (3-caryophyllene, ymuurolene, y-cadinene in Ochnum basilicum). Further the proportion of sesquiterpenes increased in SFE fractions collected successively in time.Significant difference was remarkable in respect of the optical rotationability of lovage oil and SFE fraction which was probably caused by the different ratio between the two ligustilid enantiomers. It was verified in some cases that a part of mono- and sesquiterpenes were present originally in a bounded form (glycosides) in plants. Therefore they appeared in essential oil fractions only after previous acidic treatment (Thymus, Origanum species). During the supercritical extraction the azulenogene sesquiterpene lactones did not transform to azulenes (in chamomile, yarrow), but the non volatile SFE fractions of some Asteraceae plant contained sesquiterpene--lacton of unchanged structure in high quantity (e.g. cnicin in blessed thistle, parthenolide in feverfew). Authors obtained also SFE fractions which were rich in triterpenoids and phytosterols (marigold, common dandelion).
Differences were demonstrated in esterasei coenzyme pattern of some essential oil producing plants belonging to the Apiaceae family — fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.), angelica (Angelica archangelica L.), lovage (Levisticum officinale Koch.), dill (Anethum graveolens L.), coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.), anise (Pimpinella anisum L.), caraw...ay (Carum carvi L.) — as well as differences between two varieties of fennel seed by using isoelectric focusing. That method provides quality control in essential oil plants and is suitable to describe isoenzyme pattern characteristic for taxons.
Based on our findings, isoelectric focusing seems to be suitable for identification and differentiation of different plant samples, providing an easy tool for further processing as well as for breeding.
Our further aim is to apply that method to differentiate among samples belonging to the same species according to their value of inner content.