The essential oil compositions of four botanically certified and commercially available samples of Omani lubans (oleo-gum resins of Boswellia sacra Flueck.), locally known as Hoojri, Najdi, Shathari, and Shaabi in Jibali Arabic, obtained from plants growing in four different geographic locations of the Dhofar region of Oman, were analyzed by GC-FID, GC/MS, and 13C-NMR spectroscopy. The market price of these four grades of lubans differed considerably, according to their color, clump size, and texture. However, this study revealed that Hoojri, the first grade luban, and Shaabi, the fourth grade luban, which greatly differed in their price, closely resembled each other in their essential oil composition, yield, and physicochemical characteristics, except the color and texture. The composition, yield, and specific rotation of the oils of Najdi and Shathari, the second and the third grade lubans, respectively, were different from those of Hoojri and Shaabi, but they both had high limonene contents. Najdi oil was different from the other three oils in terms of its high myrcene content. α-Pinene was the principal component in all the oils and can be considered as a chemotaxonomical marker that confirms the botanical and geographical source of the resins. All the oils showed pronounced activity against a panel of bacteria, and the trend in their bioactivity and their mode of action are discussed.
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