Original paper

European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 214, Issue 4, pp 335-339

The use of floral characters in Capparis sect. Capparis to determine the botanical and geographical origin of capers

  • Cristina InocencioAffiliated withDepartamento de Biología Vegetal, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Murcia, 30100 Murcia Spain
  • , Francisco AlcarazAffiliated withDepartamento de Biología Vegetal, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Murcia, 30100 Murcia Spain
  • , Francisca CalderónAffiliated withServicio de Microscopía Electrónica, SACE, Universidad de Murcia, 30100 Murcia Spain
  • , Concepción ObónAffiliated withDepartamento de Biología Aplicada, Universidad Miguel Hernández, EPSO, Orihuela, Alicante, Spain
  • , Diego RiveraAffiliated withDepartamento de Biología Vegetal, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Murcia, 30100 Murcia Spain

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Abstract.

Capers of commerce are flower buds of Capparis species, most of them presumably of the species C. spinosa and they are considered as such in international food legislation. However, in the Mediterranean countries of Europe, Asia, and North Africa, that are the main producers of capers, four different species have been detected in the commercial product: C. spinosa, C. sicula, C. orientalis and C. aegyptia. In this paper the study of morphological characters, easily detectable under optical microscope (number of stamens, anther shape, and morphology of nectary) has proven to be a simple and cheap technique to recognize the presence of the above-mentioned species in commercial capers and the relative percentages of each, this being a good indicator of the most likely geographical origin.

Quality control Nectaries Anthers Scanning electron microscopy Optical microscopy