Petals of Crocus sativus L. as a potential source of the antioxidants crocin and kaempferol.




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Peer reviewed



Saffron fromthe province of L'Aquila, in the Abruzzo region of Italy, is highly prized and has been awarded a formal recognition by the European Union with EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. Despite this, the saffron regions are abandoned by the younger generations because the traditional cultivation of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) is labour intensive and yields only one crop of valuable saffron stamens per year. Petals of the saffron Crocus have had additional uses in traditional medicine and may add value to the crops for local farmers. This is especially important because the plant only flowers between October andNovember, and farmers will need to make the best use of the flowers harvested in this period. Recently, the petals of C. sativus L., which are considered a wastematerial in the production of saffron spice,were identified as a potential source of natural antioxidants. The antioxidants crocin and kaempferol were purified by flash column chromatography, and identified by thin layer chromatography (TLC), HPLC–DAD, infrared (IR), and nuclear magnetic resonance (1H & 13C NMR) spectroscopy. The antioxidant activity was determined with the ABTS and DPPH tests. The antioxidant activities are mainly attributed to carotenoid and flavonoid compounds, notably glycosides of crocin and kaempferol. We found in dried petals 0.6% (w/w) and 12.6 (w/w) of crocin and kaempferol, respectively. Petals of C. sativus L. have commercial potential as a source for kaempferol and crocetin glycosides, natural compounds with antioxidant activity that are considered to be the active ingredients in saffron-based herbal medicine.


Collaboration between Leicester School of Pharmacy - De Montfort Universit, Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences - University of L'Aquila, and Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology - University of Thessaly The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


antioxidants, crocin, Crocus sativus L., Kaempferol, Petals, Waste


Zeka K., Ruparelia K.C., Continenza M.A., Stagos D., Vegliò F., Arroo R.R.J. (2015) Petals of Crocus sativus L. as a potential source of the antioxidants crocin and kaempferol. Fitoterapia, 107, pp. 128–134


Research Institute

Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)