Caraway (Carum carvi) seed has a long tradition of being used as a spice to improve the flavour and fragrance quality of food. There is also a long tradition of commercial distillation of the essential oil from caraway seeds. The main components of caraway seed essential oil are S-carvone and R-limonene and the oil is mainly used in oral preparations to overcome unpleasant odour or taste. The aromatic profile of S-carvone is described as fruity, sweet, musty, earthy and accounts for the "spearmint-like" description in the profile of caraway (Heath 1973). In addition to the aromatic characteristics, S-carvone is known to possess antifungal (Janssen 1989, Smid et al. 1994), insect repellent (Zuelsdorff and Burkholder 1978) and plantgrowth inhibiting activities (Bournot 1949). These features have encouraged researchers to develop applications of S-carvone for crop protection and plant growth regulation.
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