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  3. Stability of volatile compounds of Turkish saffron (Crocus sativus) after one-year storage
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Stability of volatile compounds of Turkish saffron (Crocus sativus) after one-year storage

Despite the popularity of saffron (Crocus sativus), only a few studies have considered the alterations in the aroma profile of its shade-dried calyxes during the storage period. This study examined the influence of one-year storage at ambient temperature on the aroma compounds of saffron which is an important spice in terms of its nutritive and health benefits. It was found that storage period had significant effects on the aroma compositions of saffron samples. A total of 46 and 63 aroma compounds belonging different chemical groups mainly aldehydes, ketones, alcohols and esters were identified and quantified in shade dried and stored saffron samples by the HS-SPME (Head Space–Solid Phase Micro Extraction) GC/MS (gas chromatography–mass spectrometry), respectively. The total amount of volatiles in directly shade-dried saffron sample was determined as 60824,1 µg/kg while one year stored saffron sample contained 145292,7 µg/kg. The degradation of crocin pigments during the one-year storage of saffron, resulted in the accumulation of some marker aroma compounds such as safranal and its isomers, while reduction of some others volatiles such as β-isophorone. Safranal, β-isophorone, isophorone, β-ionone and 4-hydroxy-2,6,6-trimethyl-3-oxocyclohex-1-ene-1-carboxaldehyde (HTCC) were determined in the present study to be the dominant compounds in the volatile profile of the saffron samples. It was observed that the amount of safranal and isophorone sharply increased while β-isophorone, β-ionone and HTCC levels decreased as a result of one-year storage period.