Liquorice or licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the family Leguminosae, takes the scientific name Glycyrrhiza from the ancient Greek gluku-rrhiza, meaning “sweet root”. Licorice is one of the oldest and most popular herbal medicines in the world, known in the European and Asian worlds since the time of ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia, recorded in the pharmacopoeias of many Asian and European countries. Wild populations are widespread throughout Mediterranean countries included South of Italy. Calabria region, where is concentrated overage 80% of total italian production, is famous all over the world for hight quality of its licorice. The famous Encyclopaedia Britannica, in its "Fourteenth Edition" (1928) asserts: “The preparation of the juice industry is a widely extended along the Mediterranean coast: but the quality is best appreciated in Great Britain is Made in Calabria”. The views expressed Encyclopaedia Britannica is confirmed by the U.S. State Department "The licorice plant" (1985) and by the European Commission with the recent recognition of Protected Denomination of Origin "Licorice of Calabria,". Just because of PDO, the development of new rapid, economic and reliable methods for discriminating Licorice of Calabria from that other areas, to complement traditional analytical technique, has become a priority. The aim of this work was the development of a method for the discrimination of the liquorice roots of Calabria compared to other origins through the aroma profiling by e-nose validated by HS-SPME coupled to GC/MS. Samples of Calabrian roots, roots from other Italian regions (Abruzzo, Basilicata and Sicily) and roots from Turkey, China and Iran have been submitted to aroma profiling. The approach based on the use of e-nose on licorice roots, is described in this work for the first time. The study results showed the potential of e-nose as a technique able to support operators in the protection of PDO from counterfeiting. The e-noses, with subsequent DFA treatment of data, offer the advantages of rapidity and reliability. Further validation studies are currently under way.
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