Despite many attempts in quality control and standardization, saffron adulteration and low product quality still represent considerable problems for the spice industry.
In a recent publication by Nenadis et al. 2016 minute amounts of saffron were repeatedly analyzed with PTR-MS over a period of five weeks. By using this extremely sensitive and highly selective non-destructive technology the authors could demonstrate that the VOC fingerprints of the saffron samples changed upon storage, and the concentration of the initially dominant VOC safranal decreased progressively. They conclude: "Examination of calculated and recorded fingerprints for various admixtures showed that PTR-MS VOCs analysis, in combination with chemometrics, could be used to screen for the presence of lower quality saffron in a commercial product in a few minutes."
High-throughput screening of food & flavor samples is now even more comfortable and faster, thanks to the IONICON autosampler.