Chamisso arnica (Arnica chamissonis
Less.) is a valuable plant species used in the pharmaceutical industry due to the content of many pharmacologically active substances and the similarity of its chemical composition to that of Arnica montana
—a medicinal plant commonly used in pharmacy and cosmetics. The similarity of the two plant species implies that chamisso arnica can be a pharmaceutical substitute for the mountain arnica, i.e., an endangered and endemic plant species in Europe. Chamisso arnica extracts exhibit anti-inflammatory and antiradical activity and possesses high antioxidant properties that might be helpful in preventing or delaying the progress of free radical dependent diseases. The attributes of A. chamissonis
are mainly related to the content and chemical composition of essential oil. Therefore, the objective of this study was to characterize the chemical composition of essential oil derived from A. chamissonis
flower heads under a nitrogen impact. The experiment was performed on experimental fields in mid-eastern Poland on two soil types (sandy and loamy soils). The nitrogen fertilizer was applied as ammonium sulfate (control, 30, 60, 90, and 120 kg N ha−1
). Collection of flower heads was carried out in the full flowering phase, which was characterized by the highest content of essential oil. The chemical composition of essential oil was examined using GC-MS. Among the 75 ingredients of the volatile oil of chamisso arnica flower heads, alpha-pinene, cumene, p-cymene, germacrene D, spathulenol, decanal, caryophyllene oxide, beta-pinene, and benzene acetaldehyde were present at relatively high levels. Both the nitrogen application and the soil type had an effect on the oil concentration and the yield of the main constituents (alpha-pinene and germacrene D) with pharmacological value. Different levels of nitrogen application could be considered as a relevant way to modify the chemical composition and to increase the essential oil production.
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