Biodiversity can generate a wide range of interesting chemicals. Some plants exude aromatic essential oils which give off fragrances distinguished by volatile chemical compositions. Many of these plants have traditionally been used in medicines, as fragrances and flavours for food.
In 2006 the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) started a project called "Development of Medicinal and Aromatic Oils from Sarawak's Indigenous Plants". The aim of this project is to inventorise, analyse and develop the medicinal and aromatic oils from Sarawak's biodiversity.
The goal of the project is to discover useful essential oils and to create a value chain from the supply of raw materials to the production of healthcare and medicinal products with the benefits going back to the communities that have shared information on the essentials oil plants that they use.
To date, SBC has collected and analysed more than 100 different types of oils SBC is exploring partnership with multinational companies to evaluate their potential for healthcare, fragrances and flavours.