Lab Report

PicrocrocinSaffron is the kind of spice that adds color, taste and aroma to various foods. Thus we could say that the best saffron is the one with high quality color, taste and aroma features. Regarding taste, the responsible substance is pricrocrocine. Color is provided by dye substances, 73892072825731the crocetine esters that belong to the carotene group. Safranal is a volatile substance contained at high amount in the saffron spice. Saffron aroma depends on the sweet aroma of flowers existing at the beginning of harvest as well as on all spicy and intensive aroma alterations that take place as time passes by. These features are the effect of volatile substance alterations. Saffron quality is determined after a series of characteristic parameters for the spice itself (endogenous parameters) combined with necessary external or exogenous conditions (exogenous parameters). Physical and chemical parameters such as humidity, flower residue or foreign material and ashes content, soluble condensate, coloring power etc are considered to be endogenous parameters.

 

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Strands

Powder

TEST METHOD

Sespi

Toasted Negin

Toasted

Sargol

Sargol GradeI

Toasted Pushali

Pushali GradeI

Conventional

Pushali

Styles

I

II

Floral Waste, % (m/m)

2.8

Neg

Neg

Neg

1.9

2.08

4.7

98

Moisture and volatile matter, % (m/m), max.

8.2

7.1

6.8

6.9

6.9

7.2

7.6

9.5

6.8

6.8

ISO 3632-2 CLAUSE 9

Total ash, % (m/m) on dry basis, max.

4.2

3.1

2.7

2.8

5.2

4.3

4.3

7.5

4.5

5

ISO 928 & ISO 3632-2 CLAUSE 10

Acid-insoluble ash, % (m/m), on dry basis, max.

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.2

0.3

2.8

0.3

0.3

ISO 930 & ISO 3632-2 CLAUSE 11

Solubility in cold water, %(m/m), on dry basis, max.

61.5

58.3

59

59

61

61.2

62.2

59

58

ISO 941

Bitterness, expressed as direct reading of the absorbance of Picrocrocin at about 257 nm, on dry basis, min.

91

91.7

91

88.3

88

87

86

7.77

87

83

ISO 3632-2 CLAUSE 13

Safranal, expressed as direct reading of the absorbance at about 330 nm, on dry basis. (Min/Max)

33

33.7

34

34.3

35.2

35.8

36

6

35.8

36.2

ISO 3632-2 CLAUSE 13

Coloring strength, expressed as direct reading of the absorbance of Crocine at about 440 nm, on dry basis, min.

281

244

238

235

229

228

219

12.5

222

200

ISO 3632-2 CLAUSE 13

Added Color / Aroma

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Pigments

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

ISO 3632

Total nitrogen, % (m/m), on dry basis, max.

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

ISO 1871

Crude fiber, % (m/m), on dry basis, max.

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

ISO 5498

Enterococcus

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Escherichia coli (1 x 101 col/g)

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

Neg

ISO 16649

Sulfite reducing Clostridia seed production under anaerobic conditions (1 x 103 col/g)

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

 

Adulterations and Laboratory Methods to Find Them Out

Due to its high value, saffron spice has been subjected to many adulterations throughout history. Saffron should be free of any kind of adulteration, namely metallic substances such as oils or molasses that increase its weight or even dyes that improve its appearance.

Three different methods are used for detecting adulterations: Thin layer chromatography (TLC), high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and microscopic analysis.

Thin layer chromatography has an average cost and is used for bacterial analysis even on large samples. If adulterations are detected by the TLC method, positive characteristics are detected trough high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) which is a more sensitive detection technique. Nowadays, the ISO/TS 3632,2003 recommends the use of this method for identifying saffron dye substances as well as for identifying acid water-soluble dye substances.

The HPLC method is used for the determination of three different elements:

• Identification of dye substances responsible for saffron’s coloring intensity (crocines),

• Identification through artificial dye substances, water-soluble acid, pursuant to the ISO/TS 3632, 2003,

• Identification through fat-soluble dye substances.

Insecticide residue identification method

Although The European Union has not yet specified the maximum limits regarding pesticide residue in spices, the Spanish law has established the HAR regulation (Highest Acceptable Residue) for a series of 430 pesticides in spices, in accordance with the unified law of April 2005. Fungicides and insecticides are among the defined pesticides with maximum limits varying from 0,01 mg/kg buprofezin to 400 mg/kg of inorganic bromide. Pesticide analysis takes place by applying the method of gas chromatography (GC) and preferably through mass spectrometry detection.

Microbiological analysis method

The microbiological method is not described in detail in the ISO/TS 3623,2003. The Spanish legislation is based on the Technical Health Regulation (RTS) for spice treatment, distribution and marketing because

no specified standards exist for saffron spices. According to the RTS, the existing limits of pathogenic microorganisms and their toxins should be below following highest limits:

• Escherichia coli (1 x 101 col/g)

• Salmonella (absence of 25g)

• Sulfite reducing clostridia: seed production under anaerobic conditions (1 x 103 col/g).

The microbiological methods applied on Greek saffron for microbiologic load determination as well as for detecting ferment and coliform organisms (Escherichia coli) are defined by the ISO 4833, ISO 7954 and ISO 16649-2 respectively. One sample gram is being homogenized and separated in decimal solutions in order to tally the microorganisms that could be eventually present.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.