Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) is one of the most important and expensive medicinal spice products in the world. Because of its high market value and premium price, saffron is often adulterated through the incorporation of other materials, such as Carthamus tinctorius L. and Calendula officinalis L. flowers, Hemerocallis L. petals, Daucus carota L. fleshy root, Curcuma longa L. rhizomes, Zea may L., and Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. stigmas. To develop a straightforward, nonsequencing method for rapid, sensitive, and discriminating detection of these adulterants in traded saffron, we report here the application of a barcoding melting curve analysis method (Bar-MCA) that uses the universal chloroplast plant DNA barcoding region trnH-psbA to identify adulterants. When amplified at DNA concentrations and annealing temperatures optimized for the curve analysis, peaks were formed at specific locations for saffron (81.92°C) and the adulterants: D. carota (81.60°C), C. tinctorius (80.10°C), C. officinalis (79.92°C), Dendranthema morifolium (Ramat.) Tzvel. (79.62°C), N. nucifera (80.58°C), Hemerocallis fulva (L.) L. (84.78°C), and Z. mays (84.33°C). The constructed melting curves for saffron and its adulterants have significantly different peak locations or shapes. In conclusion, Bar-MCA could be a faster and more cost-effective method to authenticate saffron and detect its adulterants.
Jiang, C., Cao, L., Yuan, Y., Chen, M., Jin, Y., & Huang, L. (2014). Barcoding melting curve analysis for rapid, sensitive, and discriminating authentication of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) from its adulterants. BioMed Research International, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/809037