Ferdowsi University of Mashhad

Document Type : Research Articles



Saffron (Crocus sativus) is the most valuable and indigenous crop in Iran. The stigmas of flower are used as
a popular natural flavouring, colouring and medicinal agent. However, the market suffers from frauds in this
plant such as mixing with safflower petals due to high profit. Identification of these frauds with conventional
and biochemical methods is difficult and low sensitive. Therefore, application of molecular markers such as
random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD)/sequence characterized amplified regions (SCAR) is being
considered as an alternative. In this study, DNA was extracted from dry stigmas of 5 Saffron accessions and
dry petals of 7 safflower cultivars. RAPD reactions with ten 15-mer random primers resulted in two specific
monomorphic bands (500 and 700 bp) for safflower, while they were absent in saffron accessions. PCR
analysis with specific SCAR primers amplified two specific bands (414 and 589 bp) for safflowers in different
combinations of saffron stigmas and safflower petals. This was the case with very low rates or 1% of
safflower. Therefore, this method seems to be suitable for fraud identification of safflower petals in
commercial saffron samples.