Universidad de Alcalá-OTRI

Novel method for the detection of adulteration of saffron with gardenia

Posted by Universidad de Alcalá-OTRIResponsive · Patents for licensing · Spain

Summary of the technology

Researchers from the (Micro)-Separation Techniques Research Group of the Department of Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Engineering of the University of Alcalá has developed a procedure for the detection of adulterations of saffron with gardenia based on the detection of geniposide by Liquid Chromatography with High–Resolution Mass Spectrometry detection. The procedure allows to detect adulterations with gardenia in an unambiguous and sensitive way. A problem not solved at present by any other existing methods.

The group is looking for companies in the agro-food sector to sign technical cooperation agreements, commercial agreements with technical assistance or patent licensing agreements.

Universidad de Alcalá-OTRI

Description of the technology

The object of the invention is the development of a process for the detection of adulterations of saffron with gardenia based on the detection of geniposide by Liquid Chromatography with High–Resolution Mass Spectrometry detection.

The procedure for the determination of geniposide is based on the use of a C18 column and a liquid chromatography equipment coupled to a quadrupole-time-of-flight (QTOF) Mass Spectrometry (MS) detector through an ionization source by orthogonal electrospray with Jet Stream thermal focus technology. The mass spectrometer is equipped with an Agilent Technologies Mass Hunter software for mass spectrometer control and the data acquisition and analysis.

The analytical characteristics evaluated by the procedure, object of the invention are:

  • Linearity: it was evaluated as the range of working concentrations between 0.8 and 8 μg/mL geniposide.
  • Detection limit: it was evaluated as the concentration of geniposide that gives a value of the signal-to-noise ratio of 3. The limit is 0.01 μg/mL, which allows to detect about 42 μg of geniposide per gram of analyzed sample that is up to 0.0042%, a value that demonstrates the high sensitivity of the method developed for the determination of geniposide in saffron.
  • Limit of quantification: it is evaluated as the concentration of geniposide that results in a value of the signal-to-noise ratio of 10, obtaining a limit of 0.03 μg/mL.
  • Precision: it is evaluated as instrumental repeatability and intermediate precision. The instrumental repeatability is determined as the value of the relative standard deviation (RSD) in % for the peak areas obtained when 3 consecutive injections of a standard geniposide solution are performed at two concentration levels (0.8 and 8 μg/mL) and at a solution of an authentic adulterous saffron sample with percentages of 10 and 90 % of gardenia extract. The values ​​obtained for RSD were lower than 1.5 %. Intermediate precision was determined from the RSD values ​​of the peak areas obtained by injecting (replicate for two consecutive days) three replicates of a standard geniposide solution at two concentration levels (0.8 and 8 μg/mL) and at a solution of a sample of authentic saffron adulterated with percentages of 10 and 90 % of extract of gardenia. The values ​​obtained for the RSD were inferior to 1.8 % for the standard solutions of geniposide and to 2.9 % for the samples of saffron.
  • Accuracy: it was evaluated as the recovery obtained for the geniposide when a sample of authentic saffron was enriched with standard geniposide at a concentration of 1 μg/mL. The average recovery values ​​obtained were 89 ± 14 %.

Intellectual property status

Patent already applied for

Patent application number : P201600133

Where : Spanish Patent and Trademark Office

Current development status

Developed, available for demonstration

Desired business relationship

Patent licensing

Commercial agreement with technical assistance

Technical cooperation

Technology Owner

Universidad de Alcalá-OTRI

Research & Technology Organization

Related keywords

  • Biocontrol
  • Agrofood Industry
  • Food quality and safety
  • Detection and Analysis methods
  • Food Microbiology / Toxicology / Quality Control
  • Herbs and Spices
  • liquid chromatography
  • saffron
  • adulteration
  • gardenia
  • geniposide
  • mass spectrometry

About Universidad de Alcalá-OTRI

Research & Technology Organization from Spain

The Technology Transfer Office at Alcalá University serves as a liaison between the University and its socioeconomic environment in terms of research and innovation. It encorages collaboration between research groups from universities and companies/institutions, with the objective to promote and commercialize research results and scientific capabilities.

Some of the services offered by this office are specified in the following list:

- Promotion of R & D and improvement of the relationships with companies.
- Promote the participation in R & D projects applicants to public calls (regional, national and European).
- Advising, processing and monitoring of patents and other forms of industrial protection.
- Support in the negotiation of contracts and agreements for R&D&i

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