Saffron is one of the oldest and most expensive spices, which is often target of fraudulent activities. In this research, a new strategy of saffron authentication based on metabolic fingerprinting was developed. In the first phase, a solid liquid extraction procedure was optimized, the main aim was to isolate as maximal representation of small molecules contained in saffron as possible. In the second step, a detection method based on liquid chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry was developed. Initially, principal component analysis (PCA) revealed clear differences between saffron cultivated and packaged in Spain, protected designation of origin (PDO), and saffron packaged in Spain of unknown origin, labeled Spanish saffron. Afterwards, orthogonal partial least square discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) was favorably used to discriminate between Spanish saffron. The tentative identification of markers showed glycerophospholipids and their oxidized lipids were significant markers according to their origin.
- Metabolic fingerprinting