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J Sci Food Agric. 2010 Mar 15;90(4):719-25. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.3877.

Effects of mild temperature conditions during dehydration procedures on saffron quality parameters.

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Cátedra de Química Agrícola, ETSI Agrónomos de Albacete, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Campus Universitario, 02071 Albacete, Spain.



The dehydration procedure is responsible for saffron sensorial properties: colour, taste and aroma. Changes in the compounds responsible for these characteristics have been studied when dehydration processes at high and low temperature are employed. However, the evolution of these changes at mild temperatures is not available in the current bibliography. In this paper the effect of different mild conditions (18-20 degrees C for 24 h, 40-50 degrees C for 75 min and 55 degrees C for 75 min) applied to 45 saffron samples with the same origin was investigated.


Crocetin esters, the compounds responsible for saffron colour, increased their content with no significant differences from other processes when high temperatures (55 degrees C) were used, thus producing a noticeable increment in saffron colouring capability. Similar behaviour was obtained for picrocrocin, the compound responsible for saffron taste, with higher average content at the highest temperature (55 degrees C) but without significant differences with the inferior conditions (40-50 degrees C). However, more volatile compounds were generated, especially safranal,at higher temperatures, e.g. 55 degrees C, during the dehydration procedure.


The results found support the idea for employing mild to high temperatures during the dehydration process of saffron.

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