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Zanthoxylum species / Szechuanpeper

Dit is een gedeelte van de documentatiemap over Szechuanpeper

Inhoudstoffen van Zanthoxylum 
vlgs Gernot Katzers Spice Pages 
Most Zanthoxylum species produce pungent alkamides derived prom polyunsaturated carboxylic acids, which are stored in the pericarp (fruit wall, shell) but not in the seeds. The exact nature of these alkamides may vary from species to species, but common examples are amides of 2E,6Z,8E,10E dodecatetraenoic acid, 2E,6E,8E,10E dodecatetraenoic acid, and 2E,4E,8Z,10E,12Z tetradecapentaenoic acid with isobutyl amin (known as α, β and γ sanshool, respectively) and 2-hydroxy isobutyl amin (hydroxy sanshools), which have been found in several different species of the genus. Total amide content can be as high as 3% (reported in Z. piperitum). Similar alkamides were found in a herb from South America called paracress.
Four types of culinary Sichuan pepper: Upper left Nepali timur (Zanthoxylum alatum), upper right Indonesian andaliman (Z. acanthopodium), lower left Indian tirphal (Z. rhetsa), lower right Chinese jiao (Z. piperitum/simulans) (200 dpi scan).

Within the ge­nus, a be­wildering collection of further, potentially interesting nonvolatile con­stituents has been identified: flavonoids, terpene alkaloids, benzo­phenthridine alkaloids, pyrano­quinoline alkaloids, quarternary isoquinoline alkaloids, aporphyrine alkaloids and several types of lignanes.

The typical flavour of Sichuan peppers is due to essential oils which are, as a rule, mostly composed from terpenoids, but the exact composition varies considerably among the species, and sometimes even within the species. The following accounts on Zanthoxylum essential oils can only give a coarse overview on that matter.

The essential oil (up to 4%) of Chinese Sichuan pepper (labelled as Z. piperitum, but could also be Z. simulans or other) as sold in Europe consists mostly of terpenes: Geraniol, linalool, cineol, citronellal; also dipentene was found. (Deutsch. Apoth-Zeit., 46, 2381, 1987)

The fruits of the Taiwanese species, Z. simulans, yielded mainly β-myrcene, limonene, 1,8-cineol and (Z)-β-ocimene. The total content of essential oil was reported to be 1.7% (steam distillation) and 6.4% (carbon dioxide extraction). (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 44, 1096, 1996)

The leaves of Z. sansho (Japan, allegedly identical to Z. piperitum) contain mostly monoterpene derivatives (citronellal, citronellol) and unsaturated C6 compounds (e.g., Z-3-hexenal), which contribute to a grassy odour. (Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, 61, 491, 1997) In the unripe fruits, the content of essential oil is reported to 0.6%, with β-phellandrene (42%), d-limonene (23%) and β-pinene (11%) being the main components. Terpene alcohols (geranyl acetate, citronellol, α-terpineol) were found in the 1 to 5% range. The young leaves (0.12%) yielded mostly terpene hydrocarbons. (Nippon Nogeikakaku Kaishi, 70,1001, 1996)

The most abundant constituent in the essential oil of Z. acanthopodium (Indonesia) is geranyl acetate (35%); the flavour is, however, dominated by the citrus-scented compounds limonene and citronellal. Further components are β-myrcene, β-ocimene, linalool and E-1-decenal. (H. Wijaya, personal communication) (Food Science and Biotechnology, 11, 680, 2002)

The Korean species Z. schini­folium is parti­cularly interesting because it is almost non-pungent, and the essential oil distributes evenly between pericarp and seeds. The essential oil was shown to consist mainly of terpenoids (geraniol, limonene, geranyl acetate, β-phellandrene, phellandral, myrcene, linalool, α-pinene), but also nonterpenoid volatiles (p-isopropyl-2-cyclohexenone, caproic acid, caprylic acid) and especially phenylpropanoids (anethole, eugenol, methyl chavicol) have been found. (Han’guk Sikp’um Yongyang Hakhoechi, 11, 493, 1998) (Han’guk Sikp’um Yongyang Hakhoechi, 12, 119, 1999) (Zhongguo Zhongyao Zazhi, 16, 359, 1991)

Z. alatum, a species growing in the Himalayas and figuring prominent in Tibeti and Nepali cooking, is reported to contain mostly linalool (more than 50%), further limonene, methyl cinnamate and cineol. (Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 16, 408, 2001) (Journal of Essential Oil Research, 10, 127, 1998)

Also in the Indian species, Z. rhetsa (syn. Z. limonella), the essential oil (3.7%) has been shown to consist mainly of monoterpene derivatives: Sabinene, limonene, pinenes, para-cymene and terpinenes, furthermore the monoterpene alcohols 4-terpineol and α-terpineol. (Zeitschrift f. Lebensmitteluntersuchung und -forschung A, 206, 228, 1998)
Another work on composition of the leaf oil found caryophyllene oxide (13%), caryophyllene (10%), β-copaene (5%) and spathulenol (3%); the same authors report sabinene (66%), α- and β-pinene (each 6%) and terpinen-4-ol (4%) in the seed oil. Although the authors actually write seed oil, I suspect that the work refers to the essential oil obtained from the pericarp. (Journal of essential oil research, 12, 179, 2000)

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