Volatile (essential) oil crops yield a wide range of products – fresh and dried herbs, oils and oil components and various oleoresins. Changing lifestyles in developed countries have led to dramatic increases in demand for these products, particularly over the last decade. More varied use has been made of oils and herbs in cooking, and oil components are now being regarded as safe alternatives to synthetic food additives and crop protection substances.
The surge in demand for these produces has encouraged a number of temperate and mediterranean countries to evaluate a range of volatile oil-bearing species as alternative crops. This has resulted in a rapid expansion in the scientific and technical literature on culinary and medicinal herbs.
Volatile Oil Crops draws much of this literature together for the first time. It reviews the basic botany, physiology and biochemistry of the major species and then analyses the genetics of oil composition. The effects of oils on a wide range of organisms are discussed and the book surveys the biotechnological methods which can be employed in the laboratory production of oils. It concludes with a full analysis of the world trade in the products of volatile oils.