Picrocrocin content and quality categories in different (345) worldwide samples of saffron (Crocus sativus L.)

Luana Maggi, C. Priscila Del Campo, Manuel Carmona, Charalabos D. Kanakis, Eirini G. Anastasaki, Petros A. Tarantilis, Moschos G. Polissiou, Gonzalo L. Alonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, 345 saffron samples were analyzed from different countries to study their picrocrocin content using different analytical techniques. The E1cm1% of 257 nm results from all samples are inflated in comparison by the high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) data, because of the interferences with the crocetin ester pool and especially with those with a lower trans/cis relation. A picrocrocin range update is proposed for International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 3632 normative because category III should be incremented up to 50 units, while category II should be incremented up to 60 units. More accurate data are achieved when the ΔEpic measurement is carried out. Consequently, improvements to the ISO method are suggested. Fourier transform (FT)-near-infrared spectrometry analysis has also been carried out, showing excellent results from the calibration with HPLC data. This spectrophotometric technique could be used by saffron enterprises to obtain quick and more accurate data for picrocrocin determination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1312
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • ISO quality standard
  • Saffron
  • crocetin esters
  • picrocrocin


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