In the present study saffron samples from Greece, Spain, Iran, and Morocco, collected during harvesting years 2005–2014, were characterized and classified according to geographical origin using volatile compounds and selected bioactivity parameters. The volatile compounds of saffron were semi-quantified using headspace solid-phase microextraction in combination with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Bioactivity parameters such as total phenolic content (TPC), radical scavenging activity (%RSA), and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) were determined using spectrophotometric assays. Results showed that significant variations (P < 0.05) in the volatile content, TPC, and antioxidant activity were observed according to geographical origin of saffron. Certain volatile compounds and bioactivity parameters were also affected by harvesting year (P < 0.05). Finally, strong positive Pearson’s correlations were obtained for TPC and %RSA (r = 0.90), TPC and FRAP (r = 0.90), highlighting that the methanolic fraction of saffron is rich in phytochemicals, contributing thus, to its overall antioxidant properties. The application of LDA to above combined parameters determined, enabled the correct geographical discrimination of saffron, resulting in a correct prediction rate of 95.5%. The use of a larger number of saffron samples will further validate present results.
European Food Research and Technology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 22, 2017
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