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Effects of Salicylic Acid on Carotenoids and Antioxidant Activity of Saffron (Crocus sativus L.)

Somayeh Tajik, Fatemeh zarinkamar, Vahid Niknam




Saffron (Crocus sativus L.), the most valuable medicinal food product, belongs to the Iridaceae family, which has been widely used as a coloring and flavoring agent. The stigmas contain three major compounds; crocins (carotenoid compound responsible for color), picrocrocin (responsible for taste) and safranal (responsible for odor). It has been used for medicinal purposes, as a spice and condiment for food and as a dye since ancient times. Numerous studies have shown crocins as main carotenoids of saffron to be capable of a variety of pharmacological effects, such as protection against cardiovascular diseases and inhibition of cancer cell development. Salicylic acid is a signaling molecule and a hormone-like substance that plays an important role in the plant physiological processes. Due to the importance of saffron as a valuable product, the aim of this study is to investigate the effect of salicylic acid application (0.01, 0.1 and 1 mM) on crocin and safranal content and antioxidant activity of stigmas. The results showed that salicylic acid application at 1 mM was the most effective treatment in increasing the crocin content and stronger antioxidant activity of stigmas, but it had a negative effect on safranal content; the highest quantity of this compound was observed in the control plants.


Antioxidant activity, Crocin, Crocus sativus, Picrocrocin, Safranal, Salicylic acid


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22037/afb.v2i4.9739


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