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.

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


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 controlEdit

In the United States, d-Limonene (Orange Oil) is an EPA approved and registered active ingredient in California[8] and Florida[9] for the extermination of drywood termites, Formosan termites, and other structural pests. 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 controlEdit

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 agentEdit

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.


Aromatherapy is a pseudoscience, with the purported evidence for health effects coming from preliminary research.[16]


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.[17] 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.[18]

See alsoEdit


  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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  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. ^ "Essential Oils in the Ambulance". Science-Based Medicine. 9 May 2018.
  17. ^[bare URL PDF]
  18. ^ "Safety data (MSDS) for limonene". Fisher Scientific UK. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2015.

External linksEdit