Quality of saffron spice: coloring strength

S. Chaouqi, M. Lage, N. Moratalla-López, M.J. Bagur, G.L. Alonso, T. Guedira
The quality of saffron, the dried stigmas of Crocus sativus L., is evaluated through various criteria that depend on its chemical composition and the processes it undergoes which can alter it. Research into the chemical composition of saffron has seen a renaissance in recent years. Saffron natural colorants have received much attention by scientists due to their bioactivity beyond their traditional use as food colorants. Consumers are avoiding foods containing synthetic colorants, which lead food industries to replace them by natural pigments. Different analytical methods have been established, enabling rapid authenticity control of the spice. Quality established by chemical composition, physicochemical and microbiological properties, cannot be determined by the consumer. They can only be known through analytical determinations. The consumer perceives is influenced by the aspect, basically color, which is what determines the degree of acceptance or rejection. Then, a second evaluation is made on saffron's organoleptic properties, its taste and aroma. These characteristics hold increasing greater specific weight in the global idea of saffron quality, but in spite of it they continue subordinate color. The objective of this review article is to provide a recent development in the chemistry and analysis of saffron color, results that may help to future needs in saffron research.
Chaouqi, S., Lage, M., Moratalla-López, N., Bagur, M.J., Alonso, G.L. and Guedira, T. (2020). Quality of saffron spice: coloring strength. Acta Hortic. 1287, 411-418
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1287.53
Crocus sativus L., saffron quality, food colorants, kinetics, crocins, crocetin esters, apocarotenoids

Acta Horticulturae