There are many different cultivars - each with its own fragrance profile and chemical composition. These differences are, of course, evident when the oils are analysed using gas chromatography. They are also reflected in their NIR absorbance spectra. Sagitto uses data science to help plant breeders to rapidly screen cultivars in their search to maximise yield and/or develop new desirable combinations of traits.
Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and Kanuka (Kunzea ericoides) plants are very similar in appearance, and there is a risk that inexperienced staff might accidentally mix the two plant species. The Sagitto system provides Manuka Biologicals Ltd with a valuable quality control mechanism, to ensure that their Manuka and Kanuka essential oils are pure.
'English lavender' oil is extracted from the flowers of Lavandula angustifolia, while 'Lavandin' oil is made from Lavandula x. intermedia, a hybrid cross between Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia (Spike Lavender).
Near infrared spectroscopy not only gives a very rapid and inexpensive method to tell the difference between these two types of oil, but also allows the composition of oils to be accurately measured.