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2007 | 29 | 5 |

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Polyphenol oxidase activity in dormant saffron (Crocus sativus L.) corm

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Crocus sativus L., cultivated since ancient times as the source of saffron, is a triploid plant that can be propagated only via its corms which undergo a period of dormancy. Understanding the processes taking place in the corm is essential to preserve the plant and improve its quality. Color and taste being of prime importance in the quality of the saffron spice, knowledge on polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity in the plant is of particular interest given the role of the enzyme in fruit and vegetable browning during processing and during the storage of processed food. In this paper, PPO activity was investigated for the first time in extracts obtained from dormant C. sativus L. corms. PPO activity was detectable using L-DOPA, pyrogallol, catechol or p-cresol as substrate, each being oxidized to its corresponding o-quinone; no activity was detectable with L-tyrosine, tyramine or phenol as substrate. Two pH optima, respectively at 4.5 and 6.7, were observed with all substrates and a third one, at 8.5, was found with L-DOPA and p-cresol. Kinetics parameters studied at pH 6.7 indicated the highest catalytic efficiency (in units mg⁻¹ prot mM⁻¹) with pyrogallol: 150, then catechol: 39, L-DOPA: 6.4 and p-cresol: 4.6. The enzymatic activity was inhibited by 50% in the presence of 0.22, 0.35, 0.5 and 0.7 mM kojic acid with, respectively, catechol, pyrogallol, p-cresol and L-DOPA as substrate. When stained for PPO activity, non-denaturing gel electropherograms of extract revealed three distinct bands, indicating the presence of multiple isoenzymes in dormant C. sativus L. corms.

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  • Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Tehran, P.O. Box 13145-1384,13145 Tehran, Iran
  • Laboratory for Life Sciences, Sarve Sharghi 58, 19979 Tehran, Iran
  • Laboratory for Life Sciences, Sarve Sharghi 58, 19979 Tehran, Iran


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