Scientific journal

60 2021

Journal of Food and Nutrition Research
Summary No. 4 / 2021

Varadharajan, B. – Madasamy, P.
A simple protocol for metabolite extraction from saffron and its application to authentication of market samples by HPLC fingerprinting
Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 60, 2021, No. 4, s. 327-334

Bhooma Varadharajan, Centre for DNA Barcoding, Department of Genetic Engineering, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, SRM Nagar, Kattankulathur, Tamil Nadu, India. E-mail:

Received 14 August 2021; 1st revised 5 October 2021; accepted 11 October 2021; published online 19 November 2021.

Summary: Being an expensive spice, saffron is highly prone to adulteration. Crocin, picrocrocin and safranal, which are commonly used as chemical markers for authentication, suffer from a lack of stability and uniqueness to saffron. Inexpensive synthetic safranal poses an additional concern in adulteration. Therefore, identification of other metabolites becomes essential for saffron authentication. Available metabolite extraction methods are laborious, time-consuming and require a large quantity of samples. We report a simple protocol for extracting the metabolites from as little as 5 mg of saffron using 100 μl of solvent in 2 h. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) of the metabolites at 1 ml·min-1 flow rate with 70% acetonitrile for 10 min and detection at 308 nm yielded an HPLC fingerprint specific to saffron’s stigma. The fingerprint was stable after at least 6 years of storage at room temperature and successfully differentiated the authentic from inauthentic market samples.

Keywords: adulteration; extraction; high performance liquid chromatography; fingerprint; safranal; saffron

  (pdf, 1.18 Mb, 247x)