The production of saffron spice generates large quantities of plant by-products: over 90% of the plant material collected is discarded, and a consideration fraction of this waste is plant stamens. This work investigated the chemical composition and the antimicrobial activities of the non-polar fraction extracted from four different saffron flower stamens. The chemical composition of ethereal extracts of the saffron stamens was qualitatively assessed by means of gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses. These analyses revealed ethereal extracts to possess a high polyunsaturated fatty acid content. In vitro antibacterial activity of stamen extracts showed no large differences between Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria in terms of minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC). In food matrix microbial analysis of the bacterial strains belonging to the main foodborne pathogen species, including Staphylococcus aureus DSM 20231, Escherichia coli DSM 30083, and Listeria monocytogenes DSM 20600, using low-fat UHT milk, revealed a statistically significant reduction in the number of cells (particularly for E. coli and S. aureus with a complete elimination of the population of the two target bacteria following incubation in diethyl ether extracts of saffron stamen (DES) at high concentrations tested, both at 37 °C and 6 °C (for 48 h and 7 days, respectively). A synergic effect was observed when the pathogens were incubated at 6 °C with DES. This work shows these by-products to be excellent sources of bioactive compounds, which could be exploited in high-added-value products, such as food, cosmetics, and drugs. © 2021 by the authors.
Antimicrobial activity and chemical characterization of a non-polar extract of saffron stamens in food matrix / Zara, S.; Petretto, G. L.; Mannu, A.; Zara, G.; Budroni, M.; Mannazzu, I.; Multineddu, C.; Pintore, G.; Fancello, F.. - In: FOODS. - ISSN 2304-8158. - (2021). [10.3390/foods10040703]