Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) byproducts are considered as a cheap source of bioactive polyphenolics endowed with potential antioxidant effects. The saffron biowaste is utilized for extraction of flavonoid glycosides and their potential biological properties. The total amount of polyphenolics and polysaccharides was found to be higher in the tepal than in the stamen. The bioactive compounds quercetin-3-O-sophoroside (Q-3-sop) and kaempferol-3-O-sophoroside (K-3-sop) were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography equipped with a photodiode array detector (HPLC-PDA) and identified by high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). The antioxidant effects were studied using 2,2 diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), 2,2'-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt (ABTS), ferric ion reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), and oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC); Q-3-sop showed stronger antioxidant effects compared to K-3-sop, crocin-I, and crocin-II. Furthermore, Q-3-sop also inhibited cell apoptosis caused by H2O2 by reducing the levels of cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). In terms of cytogenetic effects, Q-3-sop revealed no cytogenic effects on onion root meristem cells but chromosomal aberration was observed at the highest dose (200 ppm). Thus, saffron byproducts and its flavonoids could be utilized as natural antioxidant agents with no cytogenetic effects.
Keywords: Crocus sativus L.; genotoxicity; quercetin-3-O-sophoroside; reactive oxygen species (ROS); saffron byproducts.