Flavor chemistry of saffron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Saffron, the dried orange-red stigmas of Crocus sativus L. flowers, is widely used in coloring and flavoring of foods. The freshly picked stigmas are nearly odorless, with typical saffron flavor being developed during the drying process. In particular, safranal, the major constituent of the essential oil of saffron, is formed by hydrolysis of the bitter glycoside picrocrocin. In addition to picrocrocin there are numerous other glycosides that may undergo hydrolysis to yield a complex array of compounds that comprise the volatile profile of saffron. Safranal and these other hydrolysis products may undergo further degradation to yield additional volatile compounds. In this report, recent developments in the chemistry and analysis of saffron flavor will be reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-239
Number of pages20
JournalACS Symposium Series
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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