The citrus-derived bioactive monoterpene limonene is an important industrial commodity and fragrance constituent. An RP isocratic elution C18 ultra-HPLC (UHPLC) method using a superficially porous stationary phase and photodiode array (PDA) detector has been developed for determining the limonene content of sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) oil. The method is fast with a cycle time of 1.2 min, linear, precise, accurate, specific, and stability indicating, and it satisfies U.S. Pharmacopeia suitability parameters. The method may be useful in its present form for limonene processing, or modified for research on more polar compounds of the terpenome. A forced-degradation experiment showed that limonene is degraded by heat in hydro-ethanolic solution. PDA detection facilitates classification of minor components of the essential oil, including β-myrcene.
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