Dr. Subasinghe's presentation was based on his research on the distribution of Sandalwood scientifically known as Santalum album and the variation of oil content and quality across different geographical regions of Sri Lanka. Until recent times, little was known about the Sandalwood growing in Sri Lanka and therefore the participants were curious about the oil contents and the distribution and therefore they had many matters clarified from Dr. Subasinghe. The paper presented at the conference was given below.
Santalum album distribution in Sri Lanka and the variation of oil contents and compounds
Santalum album has a cultural and economic attraction mainly because of its fragrant oil produced in the heartwood. Due to this reason, the demand and value are increasing which has created a high market interest.
Early studies indicated that S. album showed a highly localized distribution in Sri Lanka. However, recent studies have proven that it has a wider distribution in the country. According to the literature, sandalwood oil content and quality vary within the trees growing in the same area. Therefore this study was designed to identify the oil content and oil quality variation in three districts of Sri Lanka, namely, Badulla, Kurunegala and Hambantota. All three districts belong to the Intermediate zone, however, with different rainfall, temperature and elevation figures.
Core samples and whenever possible, cross sections were extracted from randomly selected trees in each district. Oil was extracted by hydro-distillation and the different compounds present in oil were measured by gas chromatography analysis.
The results showed a large variation of oil contents present in the sampled trees. Selected oil compounds, i.e., cis-α-santalol, cis-β-santalol, epi-β-bisabalol, epi-β-santalol and t,t-farnesol showed little or no variation between the three selected districts. However, cis-t-bergamotol was high in the sampled trees of Hambantota district. Those compounds did not have significant correlations with tree parameters, geographic and topographic parameters, i.e., dbh, heath and heartwood content.
Key words: Santalum album, oil quantity, oil constituents, cis-α-santalol