: Oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) is mainly cultivated, both as fresh and dried herb, for several purposes, such as ailments, drugs, and spices. To evaluate the influence of some drying methods on the chemical composition of the essential oil of oregano, its aerial parts were dehydrated by convective drying techniques (shade, static oven), microwave-assisted heating (three different treatments) and osmotic treatment. The oils were analyzed by GC-FID and GC-MS. The highest essential oil yield was achieved from microwave and shade drying methods. In total, 39 components were found, with carvacrol (ranging from 56.2 to 81.4%) being the main constituent; other compounds present in lower amounts were p-cymene (1.6-17.7%), γ-terpinene (0.8-14.2%), α-pinene (0.1-2.1%), thymol methyl ether (0.4-1.8%) and thimoquinone (0.5-3.5%). The essential oil yields varied among the different treatments as well as the relative compositions. The percentages of p-cymene, γ-terpinene and α-pinene decreased significantly in the dried sample compared with the fresh sample; on the other hand, carvacrol, isoborneol and linalool increased significantly in the dried materials. The choice of the drying method for obtaining the essential oil therefore appears crucial not only in relation to the higher yield but also and above all in reference to the percentage presence of components that can direct the essential oil toward an appropriate use.
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