Orange oil

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Citrus sinensis (L.) Histoire et culture des orangers A. Risso et A. Poiteau. – Paris Henri Plon, Editeur, 1872

Orange oil is an essential oil produced by cells within the rind of an orange fruit (Citrus sinensis fruit). In contrast to most essential oils, it is extracted as a by-product of orange juice production by centrifugation, producing a cold-pressed oil.[1] It is composed of mostly (greater than 90%) d-limonene,[2] and is often used in place of pure d-limonene. D-limonene can be extracted from the oil by distillation.


The compounds inside an orange oil vary with each different oil extraction. Composition varies as a result of regional and seasonal changes as well as the method used for extraction. Several hundred compounds have been identified with gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry. Most of the substances in the oil belong to the terpene group with limonene being the dominant one. Long chain aliphatic hydrocarbon alcohols and aldehydes like 1-octanol and octanal are second important group of substances. The presence of sinensetin, a flavone, explains the orange color.[3]

Compound Italian Orange Oil[4] Concentration [%] Valencia orange oil[5] Concentration [%] Valencia orange oil[6] Concentration [%] Valencia orange oil[7] Concentration [%]
Limonene 93.67 91.4 95.17 97.0
α-Pinene 0.65 1.4 0.42
Sabinene and β-Pinene 1.00 0.4 0.24
Myrcene 2.09 4.3 1.86 0.03
Octanal 0.41 -
Linalool 0.31 0.8 0.25 0.3
δ-3-Carene 0.31
Decanal 0.27 0.4 0.28


Structural pest control[edit]

Both California and Florida have authorized and registered d-Limonene (orange oil) as an active ingredient with the Environmental Protection Agency for the extermination of drywood termites, Formosan termites, and other structural pests.[8][9] It is the active ingredient of the popular structural termiticide XT-2000.[10] Regarded an alternative to traditional fumigation, d-Limonene orange oil is increasing in popularity as approximately 70% of modern consumers in California prefer local structural chemical injections over traditional "tenting" or fumigation.[11]

Biological pest control[edit]

Orange oil can be used in green pesticides for biological pest control. It can exterminate or control ants and other insects by erasing their scent-pheromone trail indicators, or dissolving their exoskeleton,[12] eliminating the infestation or disrupting re-infestation.[13][9]

Orange oil is also known to be useful to control, but not exterminate, drywood termites (Incisitermes), killing only those who come into direct contact with it.[citation needed][14][15]

Domestic cleaning agent[edit]

Orange oil is used as a cleaner. It is also used as an additive to certain wax finish/polish such as Howard's Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish & Conditioner.


The limonene which is the main component of the oil is a mild irritant, as it dissolves protective skin oils. Commercial use of orange oil, like that found in XT-2000 requires the use of protective gloves, according to EPA approved labeling[8] and most municipal structural pest control law such as the California Structural Pest Control Act of 2015.[16] Limonene and its oxidation products are skin irritants, and limonene-1,2-oxide (formed by aerial oxidation) is a known skin sensitizer. Most reported cases of irritation have involved long-term industrial exposure to the pure compound, e.g. during degreasing or the preparation of paints. However a study of patients presenting dermatitis showed that 3% were sensitized to limonene.

Limonene has been observed to cause cancer in male rats by reacting with major urinary protein α2u-globulin, which is not produced by female rats. There is no evidence for carcinogenicity or genotoxicity in humans. The IARC classifies d-limonene under Class 3: not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans.[citation needed]

Limonene is also flammable.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dominic W. S. Wong (1989). Mechanism and theory in food chemistry. Springer. p. 253. ISBN 0-442-20753-0.
  2. ^ K. Bauer, D. Garbe, and H. Surburg, "Common Fragrance and Flavor Materials", 4th Ed, Wiley VCH, 2001, ISBN 3-527-30364-2. 189.
  3. ^ Steinke, K., Jose, E., Sicker, D., Siehl, H.-U., Zeller, K.-P. and Berger, S. (2013), Sinensetin. Chemie in unserer Zeit, 47: 158–163. doi:10.1002/ciuz.201300627
  4. ^ A. Verzera; A. Trozzi; G. Dugo; G. Di Bella; A. Cotroneo (2004). "Biological lemon and sweet orange essential oil composition". Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 19 (6): 544–548. doi:10.1002/ffj.1348.
  5. ^ Pino, J.; Sánchez, M.; Sánchez, R.; Roncal, E. (1992). "Chemical composition of orange oil concentrates". Food/Nahrung. 36 (6): 539–542. doi:10.1002/food.19920360604.
  6. ^ J. D. Vora; R. F. Matthews; P. G. Crandall; R. Cook (1983). "Preparation and Chemical Composition of Orange Oil Concentrates". Journal of Food Science. 48 (4): 1197–1199. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2621.1983.tb09190.x.
  7. ^ R. L. Colman; E. D. Lund; M. G. Moshonas (1969). "Composition of Orange Essence Oil". Journal of Food Science. 34 (6): 610–611. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2621.1969.tb12102.x.
  8. ^ a b "EPA Registration for XT-2000" (PDF). EPA,gov. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  9. ^ a b Matthew A. Borden, Eileen A. Buss (26 September 2018). "Natural Products for Managing Landscape and Garden Pests in Florida". Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  10. ^ "XT-2000 Orange Oil Plus". PCT – Pest Control Technology. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  11. ^ Mashek, Bill (February 2008). "Orange Oil for Drywood Termites: Magic or Marketing Madness?" (PDF). The IPM Practitioner: Monitoring the Field of Pest Management. Jan/Feb 2008: 3 – via Bio Integral Resource Center (BIRC).
  12. ^ Mashek, Bill (February 2008). "Orange Oil for Drywood Termites:Magic or Marketing Madness?" (PDF). The IPM Practitioner. Jan/Feb 2008: 1 – via Bio-Integral Resource Center (BIRC).
  13. ^ "A Review of "Organic" and Other Alternative Methods for Fire Ant Control" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015.
  14. ^ "az123" (PDF). {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ Daniel T Perry, Dong-Hwan Choe. "Volatile Essential Oils Can Be Used to Improve the Efficacy of Heat Treatments Targeting the Western Drywood Termite: Evidence from a Laboratory Study". Journal of Economic Entomology.
  16. ^[bare URL PDF]
  17. ^ "Safety data (MSDS) for limonene". Fisher Scientific UK. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2015.

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