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Distillation and Extraction of Clove Essential Oils

Eugenol is an essential oil used in perfume, insecticides and medicine as an inhibitor for pain relief. It is derived from cloves as a hydrophobic natural product. Gas chromatography (GC) is a commonly used qualitative analysis technique that will be used to provide an examination of the spice extracts through vaporization. We expect that eugenol will be a major product of this process, however, other extractable compounds are likely to be present that we haven’t previously acknowledged. Due to lack of access to gas chromatography coupled with a mass spectrometer detector, our preliminary research will begin with consulting other primary sources to gain insight on what compounds are to be expected. We will then use gas chromatography with flame ionization detector (GC-FID) technology to confirm or deny their presence by running our extract, obtained by steam distillation, alongside standards at known concentrations. This comparison can aid further research into intermolecular commonalities among essential oils and how it relates to physical properties, intermolecular forces, and even the flavor of the oil. In the future, research focused on the various products of clove oil will be used in organic laboratory practices.

Catherine Amrich '22, Sophia Hayward '23
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