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Saffron - Production and uses


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1       Introduction

Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, is derived from the dry stigmata of the saffron crocus Crocus sativus L., a member of the family Iridaceae. The plant is a sterile autotriploid  cultigen,  2n  =  24,  possibly  selected  from  C.  cartwrightianum  Herbet,  of Greek  origin.  The  family  Iridaceae  is  included  in  the  order  Liliales,  subclass  Liliidae

(Monocots),  and  is  divided  into  four  subfamilies;  Crocus  L.  belongs  to  subfamily Ixioideae  tribe  Ixieae.1   C.  sativus  is  a  plant  of  10–30 cm  and  has  a  corm-tunic  finely fibrous; the fibres reticulate. It has 6–10 leaves present at anthesis, 1–2 flowers of a lilac- purple colour, with perianth segments of 3.5–5 cm and style branches of 2.5–3.2 cm. The yellow style is deeply divided into three branches, and the stigmata are bright red. The flowering season is from October to December.2

The first mention of the crop of saffron dates back to 2300 BC. Sargon, founder of the Accadian empire, was born at an unknown village, the City of Saffron, ‘Azupirano’, near the river Euphrates in Babylon. The ‘Harvester of saffron’ appears in the Minoan pottery and frescoes (1700–1600 BC) of the Palace of Minos in Knossos (Crete). Another fresco dated about 1500 BC is at Akrotini on the Island of Thera (Santorini). ‘Krokos’ was the Greek word for saffron and appears in the songs IX and XII of the Iliad by Homer. In Greek mythology, Krokos, the lover of nymph Esmilax, was transformed into the plant saffron by Hermes. Saffron was also known in ancient Egypt and mentioned in the Eber’s papyrus. In the Bible, saffron was ‘karkon’ (in Hebrew) and is referred to in the Song of the Songs (4:14) of King Solomon X or IX century BC. There is evidence of its medicinal use in Kashmir in 500 BC.3

The word saffron is derived from the arabic word ‘Za.feraan’ and the Arabs are sometimes credited with the introduction of saffron in Spain around the tenth century.

2       Chemical structure

In ancient times saffron was an important dye, but nowadays its main uses are cooking and  colouring  foods,  especially  Spanish  rice  (paella),  bouillabaisse  and  in  Cornwall,

traditional saffron cakes and loaves. The major components responsible for the colouring strength   of   saffron   are   cis   and   trans   crocins.   Crocins   are   unusual   water-soluble carotenoids.   With   concentrated   sulphuric   acid   their   red   colour   changes   to   blue

(polychroit). The molecular formula of the most common crocin (a digentiobiosyl ester of   crocetin)   is   C44H64O   This   crocin   is   a   bis-(6-O-  -D-glucopyranosyl-  -D- glucopyranoside)   ester   of   crocetin   (=   di-(  -gentiobiosyl)-crocetin),   C20H24O4    a carotenoid  8,8 -diapo-   ,         -carotendioic  acid  (trans-crocetin).  In  addition  to  crocin there  are  some  more  esters  (all-trans  and  13-cis  isomers)  of  crocetin  in  saffron  (Fig.

1).  Crocins  are  produced  in  the  plant  kingdom  from  a  glucoside  derivative  of zeaxanthin   (all-trans-  -carotene-3,3 -diol,   C40H56O2)   named   protocrocin,   which   by enzymatic  oxidative  degradation  (Fig.  2)  produces  one  molecule  of  crocin  and  two molecules of picrocrocin, the substance responsible for saffron’s bitter taste. Crocins have also been found in the fruits of Gardenia jasminoides Ellis (Rubiaceae), in Nycthanthus arbor-tristis L. (Oleaceae) from India, in Crocus albiflorus Kit var. neapolitanus Hort., and in C. lutens Lam.4–6

Fig. 1    The crocins. All-trans-crocins and 13-cis-isomers.

(Adapted from Tarantilis P A et al., J Chromatography, 1995 699 107–18.)

Fig. 2    Biosynthesis of crocin, picrocrocin and safranal.

Fig. 3    Characteristic cyclohexane derivatives of saffron’s aroma.

(Adapted from Tarantilis et al., J Agric Food Chem, 1997 45 459–62.)

Picrocrocin or saffron bitter C16H26O7 (R-4-(  -D-glucopyranoxyloxy)-2,6,6-trimethyl-

1-cyclohexene-1-carboxaldehyde),  is  responsible  for  the  bitter  taste  of  the  spice.  By submitting  picrocrocin  to  hydrolysis  and  dehydration,  safranal,  the  principal  substance responsible  for  the  aroma  of  saffron,  is  obtained.  Safranal  (C10H14O)  corresponds  to

2,6,6-trimethyl-1,3-cyclohexadiene-1-carboxaldehyde   (=   -dehydrocyclocitral).   By enzymatic   hydrolysis   of   picrocrocin   with   a                                     -glucosidase,   4-OH-  -cyclocitral   is produced and this component gives safranal  by dehydration. The essential  oil obtained by  hydrodistillation  of  saffron  contains  safranal  as  main  constituent  and  many  other derivatives  of  cyclohexane  (Fig.  3).  In  addition  to  crocin,  safranal  and  picrocrocin, Spanish saffron with a water content of 15.6% contains protein (10–14%), sugars (13–

14%), starch (6–7%), gums and dextrin (9–10%), pentoses (6–7%), ash (5–8%), fibre (4–

5%), volatile oil (0.8%), fatty oil (8–13%) with glycerin esters of palmitic, stearic, lauric, and oleic acids; 56–138   /g vitamin B2, 0.7–4.0    /g vitamin B1  xanthophylls, carotenes

(   ,    and   ),  lycopine  and  zeaxanthin;  Ca  (111 mg),  Fe  (11.1 mg),  P  (252 mg),  Na

(148 mg), K (1724 mg). Saffron is the richest known source of vitamin B2.4–7

Picrocrocin and crocin are easily oxidized by direct contact with oxygen in the air. As saffron  is  used  chiefly  as  a  food  additive  for  flavouring  and  colouring,  the  process  of autooxidation is undesirable. Samples of saffron stored at 0sC and                                                                17sC and 0% relative moisture showed no change in crocin and picrocrocin content. Therefore, low moisture content and low temperature are the best storage conditions. The colouring strength and bitter  taste  of  dehydrated  saffron  are  five  times  more  concentrated  than  those  of  fresh saffron.8, 9

3       Production

At present, the major saffron cultivating countries for trade are Spain, Iran, Greece, India, China  and  Morocco.  Minor  producers  are  Italy,  Switzerland,  France,  Argentina  and Azerbaijan. The spice is also produced in the southern hemisphere in New Zealand.10  In Spain  the  crop  of saffron  is of considerable  importance,  and  it  is mainly grown in  the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Toledo (La Mancha region, southeastern Spain)  and  also  in  Teruel.  One  of  the  best  quality  saffrons  are  those  harvested  in  La Mancha,  traditionally  regarded  as  ‘Saffron  Mancha or  ‘Azafra´n  Mancha’.  Saffron  in Spain is harvested and processed according to the following process.11

The corms are planted in furrows. There are two rows of corms in each furrow and the depth of the furrow is 12–15 cm. The distance between furrows is 25–30 cm. The space between corms in a row is 10 cm and the distance between rows in each furrow is

8–10 cm.  The  planting  season  is  from  July  to  September.  Large  amounts  of  organic manure  are  incorporated  into   the  soil  before   planting   the  corms.  The  artificial fertilizers used are a mixture of potassium sulphate and ammonium nitrate. In Spain, saffron is grown in dry temperature conditions (dry farming), but irrigation in March, April  and  August  is  frequent.  In  Spain  the  major  pest  is  the  common  vole  (a  field mouse). Farmers usually fumigate their burrows or use traps to solve the problem. In other  countries,  rabbits  are  also  a  major  pest  problem.  Rabbit-proof  fencing  may  be required  in  areas  where  these  pests  are  found.  Saffron  can  suffer  from  a  range  of diseases,  especially  several  fungi  such  as  Rhizoctocnia  and  Sclerotinia  (Phoma). Dipping corms in fungicide before planting, and using raised beds to improve drainage help  minimize  these  problems.  No  herbicides  have  been  tested  for  weed  control  in actively growing saffron.

Saffron is hand-harvested at the flowering season (still the only method for harvesting the crop) at the end of October and beginning of November. The process of picking the stigmata is done on the same day as harvesting. Once the stigmata have been separated from the flowers, careful drying is needed to produce a product of good quality. In Spain the  traditional  method  involves  gently  toasting  the  stigmata  in  a  silk  sieve  over  the embers of a charcoal fire. The loss of weight in this process is about 80% with respect to fresh  weight  of  stigmata.  The  final  product  may  be  stored  in  paper,  cloth  or  plastic containers.  In  other  countries,  Iran  for  example,  saffron  is  prepared  by  removing  the whole style with the stigmata binding them together in bunches and sun drying. In New Zealand, saffron is dried in an airflow oven at 30sC for 34 hours.10, 11

Most  commercial  production  of  saffron  occurs  in  Spain  and  Iran.  Saffron  is  grown successfully  under  rain-feed  conditions  in  Kashmir  (India),  with  an  annual  rainfall  of

1000–1500 mm.  Spring  rain  is  favourable  for  corm  production  while  rain  immediately before flowering encourages high flower yield. Average yields of saffron in Spain and other commercial values, can be seen in Table 1.12  In Kashmir the yield amounts to only 1.5–3.0 kg/ha (average). Between 70 000 and 200 000 flowers are needed to produce

1 kg of dried saffron threads. In New Zealand the rate is 165 000–151 000 flowers/kg of dried saffron.10, 11  In India, the total production of saffron rose from 5 t in 1974 to 10 t in

1983. Iran is another major producer, growing 50 t of spice in 1989. Iran uses 10–15 t in its  domestic  market  and  the  rest  is  exported  to  Spain.  Spain  re-exports  this  product together with its own. Overall Spanish production is in decline mainly due to increasing labour  costs  and  the  unwillingness  of  young  people  to  enter  the  industry.  It  is  worth remembering that if one stigma of saffron weighs about 2 mg and each flower has three stigmata, 150 000 flowers must be carefully picked by hand one by one to obtain one kg of spice. The price on the international market is ca US$1000/kg. Retail prices, naturally, are much higher. For instance, the price of an envelope of 250 mg saffron in Spain is 260 pesetas, equivalent to 1 040 000 pesetas/kg (10–15 US$/1 g).10–12

Table 1    Commercial values of Spanish toasted saffron

Year           Area       Yield     Production Field price  Price (euro)   Import   Export

(ha)        (kg/ha)   (kg)            (euro)/     Millions    (tm)        (tm)

kg           of euros

1985          4,233     6.18       26,145       417         11.023                    34

1986          4,067     8.74       35,537       422         15.067                    34

1987          4,209     8.21       34,556       532         18.181        1           

1988          4,229     4.82       20,374       662         13,487        2           

1989          4,193     6.12       25,671       701         18,000        9            44

1990          3,696     5.89       21,789       613         13.348        7            31

1991          3,298     7.17       23,654       530         12.543      11            35

1992          2,582     5.23       13,500       493           6.647       12          207

1993          1,878     7.80       14,642       466           6.815       26          212

1994          1,406     6.71        9,431       491           4.628       23            64

1995          1,163     5.47        6,365       563           3.582       28            46

1996          1,020     5.43        5,541       605           3.348                   

Tm = metric ton; 1 euro = 166. 386 pesetas; ha = hectare

Source:  Anuario  de  Estadı´stica  Agraria,  MAPA,  Servicio  de  Estadı´sticas  Agrarias,  Madrid  (Spain),  1997. Adapted into English.

4       Uses

In modern times saffron is used almost exclusively as a culinary seasoning and to colour foods. The range of foods that have been spiced with saffron is wide, including cream or cottage  cheese,  bouillabaise,  chicken  and  meat,  rice,  mayonnaise,  liquors  and  cordials. Spanish,  Italian  and  French  cuisine  favours  the  use  of  saffron.  An  example  is  rice

(‘Spanish  paella  and  Zarzuela  de  pescado’)  in  the  Spanish  cuisine  or  ‘Rissotto  a`  la  Milanesa an excellent Italian dish. It is often used in chicken and fish dishes. When using saffron  threads,  the  recipe  preparation  must  start  steeping  the  stigmata  to  extract  their essence  for a minimum  of 20 minutes in addition  to cooking/baking time.  This can be done in alcohol, an acidic liquid or hot liquid.3, 13, 14

However,  saffron  has  found  its  way  into  the  cuisine  of  many  European  and  Asian countries, especially in festive fare. Special Christmas bread and buns using saffron are traditional in Sweden. Saffron cakes are another speciality  in parts of England. It is an essential  commodity  in  high-quality,  milk/cream-based  confectioneries  and  Mughlai dishes in India wherein it imparts a rich colour and distinctive flavour. The average use of this spice in weddings in even a middle-class Indian family in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat is about 250 g. In the western world, although its major use is as a spice, it is also employed as a health tonic without side effects. About 50 mg of saffron dissolved in a

200 ml glass of milk  and a spoonful of sugar makes a very tasty drink which is also a health tonic. In Arab countries visitors are welcomed with a drink prepared from coffee, saffron and cardamom. In Japan it is employed to enhance the taste of fish and give it a golden-yellow colour.13, 14  In the food industry it is one of the ingredients in dehydrated foodstuff mixes, soups, ice cream and many other processed food products. Is also used, mainly in India, as a key ingredient in flavoured chewing tobacco as saffron enhances its taste to a great extent.13, 14

Water-soluble crocins are the main pigments responsible for the colouring strength of the spice. In the ancient world, pigments used as dyes and colouring matters were rare and very expensive and were considered as status symbols often reserved for royalty. The saffron  mantle  of  the  Kings  of  Ireland  and  saffron-dyed  material  supplied  by  the Phoenicians to the Kings of Assyria are good examples. In order to dye wool or silk with saffron  the  material  must  first  be  mordanted  with  alum  and  then  soaked  into  the  dye solution until the desired colour is obtained. However, the use of saffron as a dye has now been  superseded  by  synthetics  because  of  the  high  price  of  the  spice.  Scientifically, saffron has been employed as an histological stain as a dye for connecting tissues. It has also been reported that saffron was used as a glaze on burnished tint oil as a cheap but effective substitute for gold in medieval illumination.3, 13, 14

Saffron is also used as a perfume and in cosmetics.  Safranal, a pleasantly odoriferous component of saffron develops during the process of drying by hydrolysis of the bitter substance  picrocrocin,  which  is  present  in  the  fresh  stigmata.  The  Greeks  considered saffron as a sensual perfume. It was strewn in Greek halls, courts, theatres and in Roman baths. In Rome the streets were sprinkled with saffron when Nero entered the city. In the Middle East saffron is used to prepare an oil-based perfume called ‘Zaafran Attar’, which is  a  mixture  of  saffron  and  sandalwood.  An  alcoholic  tincture  of  saffron  is  sometimes used as a fragrance ingredient particularly in oriental-type perfumes. Saffron is used as a perfume ingredient in many famous perfume brands The spice is also employed in some types  of  incense.  Nowadays  the  use  of  saffron  in  the  cosmetic  industry  is  increasing owing  to  its  active  substances  and  to  the  trend  to  use  natural  products  in  cosmetic formulations.3, 13, 14

5       Functional properties

The Ebers papyrus (ca 1550 BC) mentions saffron as an ingredient in a cure for kidney problems. Hippocrates, Theophrastus and Galen considered it to be an appetite stimulant, an aid for easing digestive disorders and praised its calming effects on infants.3  Saffron is an often quoted folk remedy for various types of cancer.7  Extracts of saffron have been reported  to  inhibit  cell  growth  of  human  tumour  cells.  Crocins,  the  water-soluble carotenoids of saffron, are the most promising components of the spice to be assayed as a cancer therapeutic agent.15  Due to the presence of crocetin it indirectly helps to reduce cholesterol  levels  in  the  blood.  This  finding  was  connected  with  the  low  incidence  of cardiovascular  disease  in  parts  of  Spain  where  saffron  is  liberally  consumed  almost daily.3  In  small  doses  it  is  considered  anodyne,  antihysteric,  antiseptic,  antispasmodic, aphrodisiac,  balsamic,  cardiotonic,  carminative,  diaphoretic,  ecbolic,  emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine, sedative, stimulant, and stomachic.7

In  India  saffron  is  used  as  a  herb  in  Ayurvedic  medicines  which  heal  a  variety  of diseases ranging from arthritis to impotence and infertility. Saffron is also employed to cure asthma and coughs, useful for colds, to treat alcoholism and to treat acne and skin disorders. It is known to have aphrodisiac properties and is widely employed in Asia and the Middle East as such. Chinese and Tibetan medicine also find many uses for saffron. In India, the spice is used for bladder, kidney and liver ailments and also for cholera.14 Mixed with  ‘ghee it  is  used  for  diabetes.7   In  Indian  Unani  medicine  it  is  used  to  reduce inflammation, for treatment of enlarged liver and in infection of the bladder and kidneys. As an ingredient in recipes it is useful in menstrual disorders, for strengthening the heart and as a refrigerant for the brain. If soaked overnight in water and administered with honey it acts as a diuretic. Pounded with clarified butter it used for treating diabetic patients.14

Saffron blended with opium, cinnamon and clove, commonly known as ‘laudanum was once used as an analgesic and antidiarrhoeic agent.16  Also mixed with cinnamon, orange peel, rose petals, honey and egg yolk it was employed in ancient Iran as a tonic to restore the strength of the body.17  Preparations based on the stigmata may be used topically to relieve  teething pains in children. Overdoses of saffron (>5g) are  narcotic,  and  saffron corms  are  toxic  to  young  animals.  Apoplexy  and  extravagant  gaiety  are  possible aftereffects. Fatalities have resulted from the use of saffron as an abortifacient.7

6       Quality issues

The most common adulteration practices of saffron are as follows:18, 19

1.   The place of origin is falsified. For instance, saffron from different Spanish areas or from different countries is sold as ‘saffron Mancha’, one of the best-quality saffrons in the world.

2.   The spice is mixed with extracted saffron, old saffron or with style material from the saffron flower.

3.   Other parts of the saffron flower are added, stamens or dyed perigonia cut into strips.

4.   Some  substances  are   mixed   to  increase  the  weight.  Moisture,  syrups,  honey, glycerine,  oils, barium sulphate,  calcium  carbonate, gypsum, potassium hydroxide, saltpeter,  Glauber’s  salt,  Seignette’s  salt,  borax,  lactose,  starch  or  glucose  are commonly used.

5.   Other  plants  are  added.  These  include  dried  petals  of  safflower  (American  or

Mexican   saffron,   Carthamus   tinctorius   L.)   and   Scotch   marigold   (Calendula

officinalis  L.);  stigmata  from  other  species  of  Crocus,  usually  shorter  and  without colouring  properties,  such  as  Crocus  vernus  L.and  C.  speciossus  L.  Flowers  of poppies  (Papaver  rhoeas  L.);  pomegranate  (Punica  granatum  L.),  arnica  (Arnica montana L.) and Spanish oysters (Scolymus hispanicus L.); stamens of some species of carnation (Dianthus sp.), ground red pepper (Capsicum annuum L.); herbaceous plants  cut  into  pieces  and  dyed;  small  roots  of  leeks  (Allium  porrum  L.),  red sandalwood  dust  (Pterocarpus  santalinus  L.),  logwood  particles  (Haematoxylon campechianum L.) and curcuma (Curcuma longa L.).

6.   Sometimes fibres of salted and dried meat are added.

7.   Artificial products such as coloured gelatin are added.

8.   Organic colouring matters such as Martius yellow, tropeolin, fuchsin, picric acid and colouring products derived from tar.

As  saffron  is  the  most  expensive  of  spices,  quality  control  regulations  have  been proposed  in  an  attempt  to  avoid  these  adulterations.  The  ISO  (International  Standards Organization)  standards  are  the  quality  control  regulations  currently  applied  in  the international  saffron  business.20   These  standards  specify  microscopic  and  chemical requirements.  Aqueous  extracts  of  saffron  are  submitted  to  spectrophotometric  scan. Three maximum values are considered which, according to the ISO standards, correspond to the colouring components (crocins at 440 nm), bitter constituents (picrocrocin at 257 nm) and volatile fragrances (safranal at 330 nm). In order to improve this method, high performance liquid chromatography with photodiode array detection (HPLC-DAD) has been  used to  separate picrocrocin,  cis/trans crocins and  safranal.  This method  coupled with  mass  spectrometry  is  suitable  for  the  determination  of  picrocrocin,  safranal  and

Table 2    ISO standards 3632-1 1993, Chemical requirements

Specifications                                                          Stigmata       Powdered

Total ashes (%) (w/w), dry matter, max.                    8                  8

Moisture and volatiles (%) (w/w), max.                   12                10

Insoluble ashes in acids (%) (w/w), dry matter, max.

Categories I and II                                                  1.0               1.0

Categories III and IV                                              1.5               1.5

Water solubility (%) (w/w), dry matter, max.           65                65

Bitterness, picrocrocin absorbance at 257 nm, dry matter, min.

Category I                                                              70                70

Category II                                                             55                55

Category III                                                           40                40

Category IV                                                           30                30

Safranal absorbance at 330 nm, dry matter, all categories

Min.                                                                       20                20

Max.                                                                      50                50

Colouring strength, crocins absorbance at 440 nm, dry matter


Category I                                                              190              190

Category II                                                             150              150

Category III                                                           110              110

Category IV                                                             80                80

Crude fibre (%) (w/w), dry matter, max.                    6                  6

Total nitrogen (%) (w/w), dry matter, max.                3.0               3.0

Source: Adapted from International Standards Organization, Geneva, 1993.

Table 3    Spanish specifications of saffron for foreign trade (August 1999)

Standards                                                                Minimum     Maximum

Moisture and volatiles, 100–105sC (%) (w/w) dry weight             15

Total ashes (%) (w/w), dry matter                              5                  8

Insoluble ashes in ClH (%) (w/w), dry matter                              2

Ether extract (%) (w/w), dry matter                           3.5            14.5

Colouring strength (E1%), absorbance at 440 nm

Fine or superior saffron                                       180                – Saffron Rio       150      – Saffron Sierra                                                                    110                – Saffron ‘standard         130      – Saffron Coupe´                                                      190               

Source:  Normas  de  calidad  del  Comercio  Exterior  para  el  Azafra´n.  Ministerio  de  Economı´s  y  Hacienda  de

Espan˜ a. Adapted into English.

flavonoids and is the technique of choice for the analysis of crocetin glucosides with one to  five  glucoses  and  differentiation  of  their  cis/trans  isomers.21–23   Methods  for  the analysis of the aromatic components of saffron have been developed. The best techniques were  shown  to  be  headspace  chromatographic  methods  and  thermal  desorption  gas chromatography on line with mass spectroscopy (TD-GC/MS).19, 24, 25

Saffron is classified according to ISO standards (Table 2) in four categories on the basis  of  its  floral  waste,  extraneous  matter  contents  and  chemical  requirements.  Some researchers have demonstrated that colouring strength is the main characteristic to define saffron’s categories. Moreover it has been shown that if colouring strength fits with the regulation for a certain category, the other requirements  fit too. In Spain the standards that control the quality specifications for saffron foreign trade are listed in Table 3. It is worth mentioning that the quality category ‘saffron Mancha has been substituted for

‘Azafra´n  selecto  o  superior (fine  or  superior  saffron).  Powdered  saffron  must  fit  the above-mentioned  specifications  according  to  its  category  except  moisture  that  must  be less than 8%. Fine or superior saffron is defined as follows: stigmata much longer than the united styles, with an intense red colour. Maximum floral waste matter 4%.26

7       Acknowledgements

I wish to express my best gratitude  to Prof. Dr. G L Alonso, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Albacete, Spain, for his kind help in providing full information about saffron. I am  also  grateful  to  all  other  sources  of  published  work  used  and  particularly  to  the information from Safinter S.A., Baby Brand Saffron and J. McGimpsey, available from their websites on the Internet.

8       References

1   MABBERLEY D J, The Plant Book. A portable dictionary of the vascular plants, 2nd ed, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998.

2   MATHEW B F, Crocus L. in Tutin T G, Heywood V H, Burges N A, Moore D M, Valentine D H, Walters S M and Webb D A (Eds), Flora Europaea, Vol 5, pp. 92–9,

London, Cambridge University Press, 1980.

3   BASKER D  and NEGBI M, ‘Uses of Saffron’, Economic Botany, 1983 37(2) 228–36.

4   ALONSO G  L  and  SALINAS M  R, Color,  sabor y  aroma del  azafra´ n de  determinadas comarcas de Castilla la Mancha, Albacete, E. T. S. de Ingenieros Agro´ nomos, 1994.

5   ALONSO G  L,  SALINAS  M  R  and  SA´ EZ  J  R,  ‘Crocin  as  coloring  in  the  food  industry’,

Recent Res  Devel in Agricultural and Food Chem, 1998 2 141–53.

6   STRAUBINGER  M,  JEZUSSEK  M,  WAIBEL  R  and  WINTERHALTER  P,  ‘Novel  glycosidic constituents from saffron, J Agric Food Chem, 1997 45 167881.

7   DUKE J A, Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, Florida, CRC Press Inc, 1985.

8   ALONSO G  L,  VARO´ N R, GO´ MEZ  R,  NAVARRO F  and  SALINAS M  R,  ‘Auto-oxidation  in

Saffron at 90sC and 75% relative humidity’, J Food Sci, 1990 55(2) 595–6.

9   ALONSO G L, VARO´ N R, SALINAS M R  and NAVARRO F, ‘Auto-oxidation of crocin and picrocrocin in saffron under different storage conditions’, Boll Chim Farnaceutico,

1993 132(4) 116–20.

10   MCGIMPSEY  J,  ‘Saffron-Crocus  sativus,  New  Zealand  Redbank  Research  Station, The  New  Zealand  Institute  for  Crop  and  Food  Research  Ltd,  available  on  the Internet, <https:// www. crop. cri. nz/broadshe/saffron.htm>, New Zealand, 1993.

11   ALONSO  G  L,  SALINAS  M  R,  SA´ NCHEZ-FERNA´ NDEZ,  M  A   and  GARIJO  J,  ‘Te´cnicas culturales,  me´todos  de deshidratacio´ n y frormas  de  conservacio´ n en  la  produccio´n del Azafra´n en Espan˜ a’, Agricola Vergel, 1998 198 357–70.

12   Anuario de Estadı´stica Agraria, Madrid, MAPA, 1997.

13   SAFINTER S.  A.  ‘Saffron uses’, available  on  the  Internet,  <https://www.

uses.htm>, Spain, 1999.

14   BABY BRAND SAFFRON, ‘Facts, uses and general information about Saffron’, available on the Internet, <https:// www. htm>, India, 1999.

15   ESCRIBANO J, ALONSO G L, COCA-PRADOS M and FERNA´ NDEZ J A, ‘Crocin, safranal and picrocrocin  from  Saffron  (Crocus  sativus  L.)  inhibit  the  growth  of  human  cancer cells in vitro’, Cancer Letters, 1996 100 23–30.

16   LITTER M, Farmacognosia, Madrid, El Ateneo, 1975.

17   BOISVERT C  and AUCANTE P, Saveurs du Safran, Paris, Albin Michel, 1993.

18   ALONSO G L, CARMONA M, ZALACAI´N A, GONZA´ LEZ L V, GONZA´ LEZ M L  and SARASA- DELGADO F, ‘Study of saffron adulteration by increasing its colouring strength’, 1st Int Congress, Pigments in Food Technology, Sevilla, 1999, Proceedings, 341–6.

19   ALONSO  G  L,  SALINAS  M  R  and  GARIJO  J,  ‘Method  to  determine  the  authenticity  of aroma of saffron (Crocus sativus L.)’, J Food Production, 1998 61(11) 1525–8.

20   INTERNATIONAL   STANDARDS  ORGANIZATION,  ‘Saffron  (Crocus  sativus  L.)’,  ISO

3632-1  and  3632-2.  1st  edition,  International  Standards  Organization,  Geneva, Switzerland, 1993.

21   SUJATA V, RAVISHANKAR G A and VENKATARAMAN V, ‘Methods for the analysis of the saffron metabolites crocin, crocetins, picrocrocin and safranal for the determination of the quality of the spice using thin-layer chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography’, J Chromatography, 1992 624 497–502.

22   TARANTILIS P A, POLISSIOU M G and MANFAIT M, ‘Separation of picrocrocin, cis-trans- crocins and safranal of saffron using high-performance liquid chromatography with photodiode-array detection’, J Chromatography A, 1994 664 55–61.

23   TARANTILIS P A, TSOUPRAS G  and POLISSIOU M G, ‘Determination of saffron (Crocus sativus   L.)   components   in   crude   plant   extract   using   high-performance   liquid chromatography-UV-visible   photodiode-array   detection-mass   spectrometry’,   J Chromatography A, 1995 699 107–18.

24   TARANTILIS  P  A   and  POLISSIOU  M  G,  ‘Isolation  and  identification  of  the  aroma components from saffron (Crocus sativus L.)’, J Agric Food Chem, 1997 45 459–62.


‘Determination of safranal from saffron (Crocus sativus L.) by thermal desorption- gas chromatography’, J Agric Food Chem, 1996 44 185–88.

26   Normas  de  Calidad  del  Comercio  Exterior  para  el  azafra´n  (NCCE),  Ministerio  de

Economı´a y Hacienda de Espan˜ a, BOE 10/Agosto/1999, Madrid, Spain, 1999.

Politica de confidentialitate



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