Citronella oil is obtained by the steam distillation of green herbs known as Citronella Grass”. there are two types - Ceylon type and Java type. Ceylon type oil is obtained from the species- Cymbopogon nardus Rendle and Java type oil is obtained from –Cymbopogon winterianus Jowitt. The oil contains Citral and has a strong odour like that of lemon that is the reason the name given is Citronella. The oil of Java type is superior over Ceylon type as it contains about 75-85% of Citral compared to Ceylon type is 50-60%.Citronella Java cultivation is done on large scale in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Total Citronella Java production in India about 800-1000 tons yearly.
Citronella Java Caltivation
Proper selection of land, which supports the plant growth for a longer period, is essential for best growth & satisfactory recovery of oil. For Citronella cultivation, deep, well drained, fertile soil is suitable, the areas with fear of water stagnation should be avoided for cultivation. Soil of around pH 6.0 is considered optimum and attitude of 150-200m is ideal, the plant grows satisfactorily upto the height of 700 m. Humid Climate with regular rainfall is most favourable for plant growth & oil production as well. the highest yield of citronella oil is in part of north-east and south-east of India.
Citronella Oil Distillation
Freshly harvested leaves are taken for the purpose of distillation. During mild weather condition the harvested leaves can be spread in shade or left in field for 12 to 24 hours to make it semi-dry. This allows better packing of plant material in distillation stills and economises the consumption of fuel also. If the leaves are over-grown, then they may be chopped into pieces into distillation stills for better oil recovery. Distillation process is completed within 3 to 3.5 hours with boiler operated plant and it takes 4 to 5 hours with directly fire plant. Steam distillation or water distillation are done for recovery of citronella oil from the leaves.
Citronella cultivation is done on commercial basis, for obtaining aromatic oil from the leaves. Selection of proper soil, climatic conditions, method of plantation, type of Citronella species, proper application of fertilizers and manures, harvesting etc consideration is essential. The cultivation methods and the measures taken during cultivation of Citronella Java give good yield and better oil recovery from the leaves. The aromatic oil has odour like lemon because of presence of Citral in the oil, lemon has about 28% of Citral and about 80% in Citronella. The oil is used in perfumery, detergents and also for medicinal purpose. Thus the cultivation of Citronella Java is highly profitable for farmers in rainfed areas and areas with proper irrigation.
Product: Citronella Java Oil