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Scientific Name:
Crocus sativus
Family Name:
Iridaceae
Common Name:
saffron
Formulas/Blends
Modern Methods of Preparation
Microbial synthesis via hybrid-tunnel yeast-based fermentation, an alternative to traditional cultivation of Crocus sativus (saffron), exhibited higher catalytic efficiency in obtaining variants of carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase, essential for zeaxanthin conversion into crocetin. Liang 2021
Enzymatic cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic enzymes used in aqueous extraction of Crocus sativus (saffron) dried tepals produced a 45% and 38% higher value of total polyphenols and anthocyanins compared to the sample without enzymatic treatment. This provides an alternative to conventional solvent extraction and replaces synthetic additives. Vardakas 2021
An investigation of the application of sound waves at specific volume (77 dB) and frequency (8-12 kHz) to saffron corms during sprouting and/or flowering stages found sound waves could increase crocin and picrocrocin content by up to 30% depending upon growth stage, frequency, and sound exposure time per day. Razavizadeh 2021
Results of a study evaluating the influence of lecithin, saffron, and sunflower oil content on saffron-loaded nanoliposomes suggest the optimal levels to be 0.15% saffron, 35% sunflower oil, and 1% lecithin in terms of encapsulation efficiency, size, and color indices. Hadavi 2020
Crocin from saffron, loaded onto hydroxyapatite disks, decreased osteosarcoma cell viability and promoted osteoblast proliferation, in vitro, and reduced inflammation in a rat distal femur model in rats. Koski 2020
Maximum extraction of anthocyanins from saffron (Crocus sativus) tepals by microwave-assisted extraction was achieved using 77.5 ml of solvent per g of flower residue, temperature 48°C, and extraction time of 9.3 min, yielding 101 mg anthocyanins/g. Jafari 2019
A study determined optimal conditions for the drying of saffron stigma, the most important processing stage of saffron production, and reported the maximum concentrations of active constituents obtained; samples dried by reactance-window with 300 µm Mylar membrane was most favored. Aghaei 2019
Crocus sativus anthers (a by-product of saffron production) did not show any genotoxic or cytotoxic effects in a panel of tests, while possessing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Chichiriccò 2019
Functional cookies prepared with saffron extract showed high sensory scores and other quality attributes, including enhanced DPPH radical scavenging activity, reducing power, and inhibition of lipid peroxidation, which were fully preserved for up to 6 months of storage. Bhat 2018
A study of the encapsulation of saffron aqueous extract using a core-shell nanofiber structure (zein-tragacanth) via coaxial electrospinning technique provided evidence that thermostable core-shell nanofibers can potentially be useful in food products. Dehcheshmeh 2018
Nanoencapsulation in maltodextrin using spray-drying was shown to enhance thermal stability and bioaccessibility of saffron apocarotenoids (i.e. crocins and picrocrocin). Kyriakoudi 2018
Solid lipid nanoparticles containing crocin and crocetin from Crocus sativus were prepared and tested for antioxidant activity and cytotoxicity with results showing prolonged antioxidant activity and a different mechanism in ameliorating the cytotoxic effect. Puglia 2018
In a study of extraction kinetics from saffron floral bio-residues, ultrasound-assisted extraction was shown to have greater efficiency for total polyphenols, total anthocyanins, and antioxidant activity compared to conventional solid-liquid extraction, and microwave-assisted extraction Da Porto 2018
A novel method, using liquid-liquid extraction for infusing olive oils with safranal-rich aqueous saffron extracts, was developed. However, flavouring resulted in a decrease in quality parameters and oxidative stability after 7 months of storage at room and refrigeration temperatures. Sena-Moreno 2018
Hydrogels enriched with compounds (including crocin and kaempferol) from Crocus sativus petals were shown to be a potential new drug delivery system for wound treatment and cosmetic applications. Zeka 2018
Coating saffron with nanocellulose (maltodextrin) fibers prevented moisture absorption and preserved crocin levels, improving saffron acceptability by the panelists. Jafari 2018
Saffron anthocyanins were micro-encapsulated in β-glucan and β-cyclodextrin, using spray drying, which improved their stability during digestion in vitro. Ahmad 2017
Encapsulation of saffron essential oil, to protect it from changes during storage or processing, was achieved with β-cyclodextrin and arabic gum. Atefi 2017
Milling saffron stigma for 100 reduced its particle size to less than 20 nm, increasing color extraction efficiency by 19.8%, as compared to blending for 10 min. Milling for 10 h was recommended. Abootalebian 2017
The study explored whether the bioavailability of crocin could be increased by loading it into chitosan-alginate nanoparticles, in vitro. Rahaiee 2017
Nanostructured lipid dispersions of crocin from saffron (C. sativus) were prepared to improve its topical bioaccessibility, and showed enhanced cytotoxicity in melanoma cells. Esposito 2017
Microwave-assisted extraction of Crocus sativus stigmas in hydroalcoholic medium was performed. Moreover, the activities of crocin 1 and safranal against five isoforms of human carbonic anhydrase were evaluated. Nescatelli 2017
Multiple emulsions were prepared with an aqueous extract of saffron and nanodroplets containing crocin, safranal, and picrocrocin, as well as pectin and whey protein, were prepared and showed high stability over 22 days, as well as in gastric conditions. Faridi Esfanjani 2017
Crocin-coated magnetite nanoparticles suppressed the growth of HepG2 cells, in vitro, and the development of precancerous lesions in the livers of mice. El-Kharrag 2017
An intranasally administered mucoadhesive safranal nanoemulsion improved locomotor and grip strength and reduced oxidative stress and histopathology, following 2-h middle cerebral artery occlusion, in a rat model of cerebral ischemia. Ahmad 2017
Encapsulation of crocetin in poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles reportedly increased the cytotoxicity of the compound towards breast cancer cells. Hafezi Ghahestani 2017
Nanosilver/composite packaging was shown to significantly reduce the microbial burden of Iranian saffron (C. sativus). Eslami 2016
Cold-pressed juices from saffron (C. sativus) floral by-products were analyzed for phytochemical composition (providing high levels of kaempferol derivatives and anthocyanins) and showed antioxidant activity in vitro. Tuberoso 2016
Spontaneous, crocin-loaded micro-emulsions were prepared. Mehrnia 2016
Constituents of Crocus sativus petals were explored, revealing the presence of kinsenoside, goodyeroside A, and 3-hydroxy-γ-butyrolactone in the intact petals, with partial hydrolysis occurring during ethanolic extraction. Righi 2015
A method of preparation of chewing gum with a saffron coloring extract is described. Chranioti 2015
Crocin stability was improved by encapsulating it in biodegradable nanoparticles composed of chitosan-alginate. Rahaiee 2015
Safranal-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles were prepared and showed topical sunscreen potential. Khameneh 2015
Green-synthesized silver nanoparticles were obtained using the petal extract of saffron (Crocus sativus) as a reducing agent. Solgi 2014
Optimal parameters were obtained for supercritical fluid extraction of volatile compounds from Crocus sativus. Shao 2014
The stability and color of anthocyanins from saffron petals extract were improved following microencapsulation by freeze drying. Mahdavee Khazaei 2014
Crocin encapsulated in polyethylene glycolated nanoliposomes (50-100 mg/kg) decreased tumor size and increased the survival rate in C26 colon carcinoma-bearing mice, compared to crocin solution (100 mg/kg). Rastgoo 2013
A nanoliposomal preparation of safranal (0.04-0.32 mM) showed higher levels of cytotoxicity towards several cancer cell lines, compared to safranal solution (0.01-3 mM), in vitro. Malaekeh-Nikouei 2013
A method of ultrasound-assisted extraction of bioactive glycosides (crocins and picrocrocin) from the dry stigmas of Crocus sativus was optimized. The findings are applicable to both industrial and analytical applications. Kyriakoudi 2012
The potential of aqueous two-phase systems (ATPS) for the extraction of crocins from Crocus sativus stigmas was evaluated. Using an ethanol-potassium phosphate ATPS, more than 75% of total crocins were recovered, with wasted stigmas accumulating in the bottom phase. Montalvo-Hernández 2012
Crocin showed concentration-dependent cytotoxicity in human cancer cell lines, in comparison with a non-malignant cell line. Liposomal encapsulation enhanced the apoptogenic effects of crocin on cancer cells. Mousavi 2011
Photoprotective and skin-moisturizing properties, as well as skin absorption, of liposomes containing 0.25-8% safranal were studied in mice. Golmohammadzadeh 2011
Total crocin was extracted from saffron stigmas using Ethanol 80% as the solvent and crystallization medium. Hadizadeh 2010
The efficiencies of ultrasonic- and microwave-assisted extraction of bioactive compounds from Crocus sativus (and three other spices) were compared. Gallo 2010
The effect of parabens on the shelf-life of crocetin esters and picrocrocin in aqueous saffron solutions was studied. Maggi 2009
The research was carried out to study the effect of centrifugal ultrafiltration on the composition of aqueous extracts of saffron spice. Sánchez 2008a
Kinetics of individual crocetin ester degradation in aqueous extracts of saffron upon thermal treatment in the dark was studied particularly the comparison between saffron extracts and aqueous solutions of a crocetin ester rich fraction, with a lower stability of the latter observed. Sánchez 2008
The effect of various detergents and chaotropic agents on Polyphenol oxidase from dormant saffron (Crocus sativus L.) corm extract was investigated. Saeidian 2007
Thermal degradation studies of zeaxanthin, crocetin, and trans and cis crocetin esters isomers led to proposal of different mechanisms to explain saffron volatile generation depending on the crocetin ester isomer structure. Carmona 2006
Study on the adsorption behaviors of chitosan and the analysis of FTIR spectra indicates that many hydroxide radicals in the chitosan molecule participated in the adsorption of basic fuchsin and saffron. [Article in Chinese] Huang 2005
High-temperature treatment allowed greater retention of crocin pigments than in saffron dried at 46-58 degrees C. The biochemical implications of the various treatments are discussed in relation to their potential for optimizing color & fragrance quality. Gregory 2005
Highest coloring strength was obtained when saffron was submitted to higher temperatures & lower times. A thermal aging process reveals that trans-crocetin di-(beta-D-gentibiosyl) ester increases when saffron is resubmitted to a heating treatment before it is decomposed by extreme conditions. Carmona 2005
The maximum crocin production (0.43 g l(-1)) was achieved by the two-stage culture method, which was three times that by a one-stage method. Chen 2003
Catalase activity was detected in crude extract prepared from dormant saffron (Crocus sativus L.) corms. The activity was independent of pH in the range 6.0-11.0. Thermostability studies suggested the presence of three isoenzymes. Keyhani 2002
History of Record
ORIGINAL RESEARCH BY: Rasheed Rabata
April 2019
LATEST UPDATES BY: Julie Dennis
November 2021