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South African Journal of Science

On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353


SINGINI, Edith J.; NUAPIA, Yannick; CHIMUKA, Luke  and  RISENGA, Ida M.. The effect of elevated temperatures on trichomes, essential oil composition and yield of Lippia javanica: A chemometric approach. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2023, vol.119, n.1-2, pp.1-6. ISSN 1996-7489.

Extreme changes in climate, especially in temperature, could have implications for herbal plants in various world regions. Medicinal plants often produce a wide variety of natural phytochemicals to enhance their defence and survival mechanisms against harsh environmental conditions, and when these mechanisms fail, plants consequently die. We investigated the impact of high temperatures coupled with the specific duration of exposure on the yield and composition of essential oils and trichomes in leaves of Lippia javanica. Plants were exposed to increasing temperatures (25 °C to 47 °C) for different durations (48 h to 144 h). Response surface methodology was applied to assess the interaction between temperature and length of exposure on the essential oil yield, trichome length, and trichome diameter. Essential oils were recovered from the control and treated leaf samples using hydrodistillation and volatile compounds were identified through gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Multivariate analysis modelling allowed different clustering patterns to be detected. That is, increasing temperatures raised the oil yield, trichome length, and diameter from 1.007 mg/100 g to 3.58 mg/100 g, 50 jm to 160 jm, and 25 jm to 60 jm, respectively. Significant chemical differences between the essential oils were confirmed by the principal component and orthogonal projections to latent structures, which identified separate clusters for the control and treated samples. The current findings indicate that L. javanica has coping mechanisms against high temperatures. SIGNIFICANCE: • High temperatures significantly alter the trichome morphology and secretion of essential oils in L. javanica, which adversely affects the shrub's medicinal properties. Regardless of climate change, this finding could have major implications for indigenous people who continue to use the shrub for therapeutic purposes. L. javanica showed coping mechanisms against high temperatures for a maximum of six days; however, a prolonged exposure would be more detrimental. As a result, climate change will negatively influence the plant's developmental and defence mechanisms.

Keywords : Lippia javanica; abiotic stress; essential oil; multivariate analysis; response surface methodology.

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