Diurnal variability of stigma compounds of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) at different harvest times

Yaser Esmaeilian, Mohammad Gal

Abstract

Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) is the most valuable spice in the world that widely used for food industries and pharmaceutical preparations. In this study, we examined and evaluated variation of stigma composition of saffron due to harvest at different hours of day in Gonabad climatic conditions. The flowers of saffron were collected at different times (06:00, 12:00, 18:00 and 6:00 h of after flower emergence day) and their stigmas were separated from flowers. After drying in shade, stigma composition analyzed using a GC-MS system. The main identified compounds were safranal, picrocrocine, crocin, cic-crocin and crocetin. Other components included 1,8- cineol, α-pinen, oleoanolic acid, kaempferol, 3-gentiobiosyl-kaempferol, cineole, and echinocystic acid. Our results revealed that different harvesting times significantly influenced the compounds percentage of saffron. The high content of crocin and picrocrocin resulted in harvest at last harvest time (6:00 h of after flower emergence day). Although, safranal content decreased due to delay of harvest and highest value was obtained from first harvest time (06:00 h).

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