Morphological, Biochemical, and Molecular Analysis of Origanum vulgare L.

Concetta Lotti*, 1, Luigi Ricciardi2, Guglielmo Rainaldi3, Claudia Ruta4, Waed Tarraf4, Giuseppe De Mastro4
1 Department of the Sciences of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Foggia, Via Napoli, 25-71122, Italy
2 Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences, Plant Genetics and Breeding Unit University of Bari, Bari, Italy
3 Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceuticals, University of Bari, Bari, Italy
4 Department of Agriculture and Environmental Science, University of Bari, Bari, Italy

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© 2019 Lotti et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of the Sciences of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Foggia, Via Napoli, 25-71122, Italy; Tel/Fax: +39 0881 589347; E-mail:



The variation on morphological, biochemical, and genetic characters is very important in germplasm management and conservation strategies.


To determine the diversity of 23 accessions from Origanum vulgare L. and a commercial cultivar on the basis of agronomical, biochemical and genetic features.


Different characters related to vegetative growth and essential oil production were studied while the genetic relationships between the individuals were evaluated with the use of Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism.


Despite the accessions exhibited cymyl- and acyclic-compounds, all the essential oil chemotypes according to the prevalence of essential oil fractions were phenotypically varied. A considerable amount of biomass with maximum values in plant height was achieved by thymol/γ-terpinene chemotype and carvacrol chemotype making them of particular interest for the production of high-quality plant material and further for the mechanical harvest. The AFLP analysis, performed using 10 primer combinations, to obtain a dendrogram of genetic similarity, revealed a genetic variability that could be useful for the selection of the proper genetic groups in future breeding programs.


We identified two chemotypes thymol/γ-terpinene and carvacrol with their suitability for the production of biomass and essential oil and for the mechanical harvest. The results of the molecular characterization of the species may support and contribute to breeding programmes for agronomic and biochemical traits.

Keywords: Lamiaceae, Origanum vulgare L., Essential oil, Chemical composition, GC-MS, AFLP.