Smartphones can help in determining the characteristics of essential oils

Maria Luiza De Grandi, journalist at Ciência Rural, Santa Maria RS, Brazil. 

Juliano S. Barin, Associate Professor at Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Santa Maria, RS, Brazil. 

Logo do periódico Ciência Rural

Popular worldwide, essential oils are raw materials with different properties and can be used in different ways, depending on the desired benefit. Researchers from the Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM) in partnership with the Integrated Regional University of Alto Uruguai and Missões (URI) developed a method using a smartphone that allows capturing color changes from a reaction carried out with the majority component of clove essential oil, the substance eugenol. The commercial value of this essential oil is often dependent on the concentration of this substance. The results of the research were published in the article Fast and low-cost method using a smartphone for the determination of eugenol in clove essential oil, in the journal Ciência Rural (vol. 53, n.º 10).

During the research, scientists used 2 mL disposable vials for evaluations regarding the experimental variables of analysis with a smartphone, such as luminosity, for example, where a freely accessible application was used to capture and process the data. Different lighting conditions were evaluated for capturing images, and, to achieve the objectives, individual results were compared with each other. 

Various brown glass bottles containing essential oils, each with distinct colored labels, on a marble surface.

Image: Pixabay.

The results obtained showed the feasibility of using smartphones for this task, with performance comparable to instrumental methods used in dedicated laboratories, such as gas chromatography and spectrophotometry. “Based on our research, we can consider that quality control of essential oils can be carried out quickly, at low cost and with portable instrumentation, allowing the dissemination of knowledge and access to data previously impossible to be generated outside the environment laboratory”, explains researcher Juliano S. Barin.

According to Juliano, the results can encourage the use of this tool by several people, allowing even small producers who lack a laboratory infrastructure to evaluate their products to carry out quality control. “This research takes another step towards the popularization of science, where devices present in people’s daily lives can be repurposed to carry out chemical analyzes that can be used to control the quality of natural products. Features such as portability, low cost and easy operation allow the use of the technology by non-specialized people, which guarantees access to quality control for practically anyone”, he concluded.

To read the article, access

SANTOS, I.C., et al. Smartphone-based rapid and low-cost method for the determination of eugenol content of clove essential oil. Cienc. Rural [online]. 2023, vol. 53, no. 10, e20220498 [viewed 02 April 2024]. Available from: 

External links

Ciência Rural – CR:

Ciência Rural – Site:

Ciência Rural – Social Media: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

BARIN, J.S. and GRANDI, M.L. Smartphones can help in determining the characteristics of essential oils [online]. SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases, 2024 [viewed ]. Available from:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation