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Litsea cubeba is a special woody oil plant resource in China, which is mainly distributed in provinces and regions in the south of the Yangtze River. For the past several decades, Litsea cubeba essential oil has been the only product for trading, which can be extracted from its whole plant, including leaves, flowers, fruits, trunks, and even roots. Based on the zero-waste biorefinery concept, residues generated from Litsea cubeba essential oil processing have recently been found as potential sources for various plant-based products with added values, i.e., kernel oil with a high content of medium chain fatty acids might be used for the sustainable production of surfactants or even biofuels, pomace including protein might be used as a good source for feeding.
Woody oil plant is the general term for the fruits or seeds of woody plants that can be used for oil extraction. It is a renewable resource for a diversity of oil products, such as edible oils, aromatic oils, industrial oils, and even oils for bioenergy . The exploitation of woody oil plant based on the biorefinery concept is superior to conventional agriculture and more adaptable to climate change, which has advantages of using marginal land resources to develop value-added products and alleviating economic growth from dependence on fossil energy to some extent. Moreover, the industrial development of woody oil plants is also conducive to reduce the tight supply of edible oil, and meanwhile, maintain both economic stability and ecological security.
It is stated by the General Office of the State Council of China that 800 key counties would plant woody oilseeds like camellia, walnut, and peony by 2020, and a batch of standardized and industrialized demonstration bases would be established, resulting in the growing planting area from the existing 8 million hectares to around 13 million hectares, with an annual output of about 1.5 million tons of woody edible oils. Although woody oil plants in China are diverse and abundant, they are still unexploited or underdeveloped due to lack of scientific knowledge and systematic technical studies on intensive processing and integrated utilization.
The depletion of fossil energy and the unprecedented global climate change force people to eagerly seek raw materials for the available biomass, responding to the demand of sustainable energy supply . In recent years, with the rapid development of society and the increasing demand for a better life, some local woody oil plants in China like Camellia oleifera have gradually attracted more and more attention in both domestic and foreign markets due to their unique chemical compositions and functional properties . Besides this, Litsea cubeba was found as an emerging woody oil plant resource that can be implemented in a total valorization toward a zero-waste biorefinery, resulting in various plant-based products with added value for different application fields.
2. Litsea cubeba Essential Oil and Citral-Based Derivatives
2.1. Extraction of Litsea cubeba Essential Oils
2.2. Bioactivities of Litsea cubeba Essential Oils
2.3. Purification of Litsea cubeba Essential Oil and Its Derivatives
The entry is from 10.3390/molecules26133948
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