Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

After the saffron spice DNA

Date:
March 10, 2014
Source:
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Summary:
Scientists have proposed a new technique that allows the detection of adulterated saffron spice. By studying the DNA of the saffron spice through the analysis of its genetic code, researchers have clarified aspects of the genetic variability of this species, which has allowed the design of a system that can discriminate and certify the authenticity of saffron spice to avoid cases of adulteration.

'Crocus carpetanus.'
Credit: J.M. Martinez Labarga

Researchers at the UPM and the University of Tor Vegata of Roma have proposed a new technique that allows the detection of adulterated saffron spice.

Related Articles


A collaborative research between Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and the University of de Tor Vegata has studied the DNA of the saffron spice through the analysis of its genetic code. The use of this technique has clarified aspects of the genetic variability of this species, which has allowed the design of a system that can discriminate and certify the authenticity of saffron spice to avoid cases of adulteration.

Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) is sterile plant species of bulbous herb with purple colored flowers whose origin is still unknown. The dry stigmas of the Crocus sativus L. are commonly known as saffron, which is a cultivated plant with a gastronomical reputation that dates back from ancient times. In fact, it is only vegetatively propagated by bulbs due to its incapacity of producing fertile pollen and for this reason, seeds.

The plant blooms just once a year and the harvest of stigmas are made by manual selection in a very short amount of time. For this reason, saffron spice is the most expensive spice in the world.

This research has used a DNA barcode technique to define different species and saffron spice crop fields. For this reason, researchers have analyzed samples of various species of Crocus, both Italians and Spanish ones, including species from different origins of cultivated saffron spice. As a result of this study, researchers found some aspects of the phylogeny of this gender, particularly the genetic drift of Crocus sativus.

Numerous morphological studies support the theory that saffron spice was originated from evolution or hybridization of other saffron species, especially C. thomasii, C. hadriaticus and C. cartwrightianus. Other theories show that samples of C. sativus could have evolved due to independent factors, probably due to the geographical influences. Specifically, there are genetic differences between the Spanish and the Italian saffron spice.

It is proved that the DNA barcode method, generally used for interspecific taxonomic identification, can be also applied to intraspecific and population studies. Lastly, this molecular approach was proposed as a scientific tool that can discriminate and certify the authenticity of saffron as mentioned before. The fact that the saffron spice is such an expensive product, this barcode method will be able to identify any adulterated saffron

The collaboration between the UPM and the University of de Tor Verga was possible thanks to interchange agreements of the European Erasmus Programme. Representing the UPM for this project as a researcher was the professor Martínez Labarga.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Angelo Gismondi, Federica Fanali, Juan Manuel Martínez Labarga, Maria Grilli Caiola, Antonella Canini. Crocus sativus L. genomics and different DNA barcode applications. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 2013; 299 (10): 1859 DOI: 10.1007/s00606-013-0841-7

Cite This Page:

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. "After the saffron spice DNA." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310102210.htm>.
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. (2014, March 10). After the saffron spice DNA. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310102210.htm
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. "After the saffron spice DNA." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310102210.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Two Andean bear cubs are unveiled at the U.S. National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Alicia Powell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

AFP (Mar. 25, 2015) — Experts are gathering in Botswana to try to end the illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins