Pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium) Flowers’ Drying Conditions for Optimum Extractable Pyrethrins Content

  •  H. O. Otieno    
  •  D. K. Kariuki    
  •  J. M. Wanjohi    


Pyrethrum flowers of the genus Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium are grown in Kenya by small scale farmers for extraction of pyrethrins, a natural insecticide’s active ingredient. Pyrethrins are classified in two groups, Pyrethrins I and II, and are degradable when exposed to air, moisture and high temperatures. The contents and ratio of Pyrethrins I:II determine the efficacy of the insecticide. Therefore, drying of the pyrethrum flowers should be optimized in order to attain maximum extractable pyrethrins content and optimum ratio. The aim of this research was to optimize the drying temperatures, time and moisture content of pyrethrum flowers. The flowers were harvested and dried at varying temperatures of 40, 50, 60 and 70 ºC to total dryness. Another set of flowers were harvested and dried in the oven at the same temperatures for a maximum period of 18 hrs. Moisture content was determined at each temperature, at intervals of one hour. The dried flowers were then ground into fine powder and extracted using Soxhlet extraction method with hexane. The extracts were refined and analyzed by Mercury reduction and High Performance Liquid Chromatographic methods. Pyrethrum flowers were found to achieve maximum moisture loss, at varying times and temperature with 70 ºC recording the shortest time of 18 hrs. The yield of pyrethrins obtained on drying the flowers to constant weight at 40 ºC was 0.90% while drying for 18 hrs yielded 0.79%. Extractable Pyrethrins II were found to reduce by 8.6% when the drying temperature was raised from 50 to 60 ºC and by 11.3% from 60 to 70 ºC. Extractable Pyrethrins I were found to reduce by 6% when the drying temperature was raised from 50 to 60 ºC and by 5% from 60 to 70 ºC. The total pyrethrins obtained from the flowers dried at 50 ºC were found to be 1.37% at 18 hrs and 1.44% to constant weight drying. The pyrethrins I:II ratio was found to vary over the temperature range 40-70OC.The optimum temperature and time for drying pyrethrum flowers was found to be 50 ºC for 21 hrs.

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  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0461
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-047X
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: semiannual

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