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□ Carvacrol ■ Thymol □ 7-terpinen ■ Linalool □ Sesquiterpentyp ■ "Majorantyp"

Figure 7.4 Chemotypical segregation of five single plant offsprings of Origanum vulgare ssp. crossings (Marn et al, 1999).

Biosynthesis

Knowledge on the biosynthesis of the essential oil compounds and their inheritance is useful for a more effective selection and establishment of a targeted breeding programme (Figure 7.5). In contrast to e.g. Mentha sp. where the biosynthesis and inheritance of the monoterpenes is known in detail (Croteau and Gershenzon, 1994), only some key enzymes have been identified so far for carvacrol, thymol and linalool synthesis in Origanum (Croteau and Karp, 1991). Perhaps some parallelism could be seen with the biogenetic sequence in Thymus vulgaris (Gouyon and Vernet, 1982) since thymol, carvacrol and linalool are also the main compounds. As regards O. majorana, Novak et al. (2001) studied cis- and trans-sabinene hydrate in several occassions (Figure 7.6).

Figure 7.5 "A plant breeding program ... requires a basic knowledge of the inheritance of at least the major essential oil compounds" (Murray and Reitsema, 1954).

1...c/s-sabinene hydrate 2...frans-sabinene hydrate 3...c/s-sabinene hydrate acetate 4...sabinene

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