It is but natural that the commercial importance of a citronella oil has led to numerous attempts at the cultivation of citronella grass. Judging from the properties of the oils obtained, these experiments have been made principally with the Maha Pengiri grass.
In the first place reference may here be had to the experiments made in the German colonies in the South Sea, more particularly in German Mew Guinea. As becomes apparent from the examination of two samples by Schimmel & Co., the oils there distilled resemble the Java citronella oil: d15o 0,8819; aD - 0°46'; nD20o 1,46278; total geraniol content 85,9 p. c; and d15o 0,8964; aD - 1° 20'; total geraniol content 78 p. c. These favorable results, it is reported, have already lead to the production of oil on a large scale1), but commerce has not yet taken cognisance thereof.
Another oil, the equal of Java oil, is being distilled in the Malay peninsula. It is described by B.J.Eaton2). It was faintly yellow in color and dissolved in 1 vol. and more of 80 p. c. alcohol. d15,5o 0,8890. The total geraniol content amounted to 82,4 p. c. of which 27,7 p. c. was geraniol and 54,7 p. c. (?) citronellal.
The same holds true of an oil obtained from Jamaica. It had the following properties: d15o 0,8947; aD - 4° 16'; nD20o1,47098; total geraniol 86,4 p. c; soluble in 1,2 vol. and more of 80 p. c. alcohol, the diluted solution showing slight opalescence upon standing.
According to the Imperial Institute in London3) attempts at the cultivation of Ceylon citronella grass have been made since 1903 in the Seychelles. An oil equal to the Ceylon oil has been obtained. A trial distillation yielded 0,39 p. c: d15o0,910; aD - 12° 49'.
1) P. PreuB, Berichte d. deutsch. pharm. Ges. 19 (1909), 25. 2) Agric. Bull, of the Straits and Fed. Malay States 1909, No. 4, p. 142; Chemist and Druggist 75 (1909), 21. 3) Bull. Imp. Inst. 6 (1908), 109.