Chemical characterization of the constituents of the aroma of honeybush, Cyclopia genistoides
A high-capacity headspace sample enrichment probe (SEP) was used in conjunction with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyse the volatile organic compounds present in the aroma of dry or infused, unfermented (green) and fermented C. genistoides, one of the South African Cyclopia species from which a herbal tea, known as honeybush tea, is made. Seventy-seven compounds were identified in the volatile fraction of the aroma of dry, green C. genistoides, comprising, inter alia, a large number of saturated and unsaturated alcohols, aldehydes and methyl ketones. In the aroma of dry, as well as infused, fermented C. genistoides, 79 compounds were identified, 46 of which were terpenoids that were mostly present in much lower relative concentrations in the unfermented material. The methodology developed and the results obtained in the analysis of the aroma of C. genistoides provide a basis for ongoing comparative studies on the chemical composition of a series of prominent Cyclopia species with the view to developing a rapid screening device and protocol for honeybush tea evaluation. © 2007 SAAB.