Autumn 2006 (14.3)
Effects on Saffron on Cancer
by Betty Blair
here on the magazine staff at Azerbaijan International were so
saddened by the news of the sudden death of Fikrat Abdullayev
on July 17, 2006. We had just published his article about
the anti-carcinogenic qualities of saffron in our summer
issue. And then, he was gone. He was only 62 years old.
Dr. Abdullayev was born on October 18, 1943, in Baku. He received
his Ph.D. from the Institute of Botany at the Azerbaijan Academy
of Sciences (1970) and his doctorate in Biological Sciences from
the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiyiev (1989). Since 1997, he had served as Head of
the Experimental Oncology Laboratory at the National Institute
of Pediatrics in Mexico City.
Left: At Antonio Cao's farm in Sardinina, separating
the saffron stigmata from the freshly picked crocus blossoms.
Care must be taken to pull the three saffron stigmata as close
to the base as possible, as longer saffron strands attract higher
prices. Left to right: Cecilia Prince (family friend) and Cao
Family members: Giovanni, Nanda, Maria and Antonio, who owns
Photo: Anna Tatti,
crop harvested on Antonio Cao's farm, November 2006
Right: Pulling saffron stigmata
from the crocus blossom. Photos:
Anna Tatti, Sardinia.
He had been instrumental
in organizing the First International Symposium on Saffron Biology
and Biotechnology in October 2003 in Albacete, Spain.
In 2004, he participated in the International Conference on Medicinal
Uses of Saffron in Iran, and was eagerly looking forward to the
Second International Symposium on Saffron which was to be held
there in Mashad this October 2006. Visit http://saffron-ir.um.ac.ir.
Dr. Fikrat Abdullayev (white
hair, 2nd from left) together with his staff at the Experimental
Oncology Laboratory at the National Institute of Pediatrics in
Photo: Anna Tatti,
We commemorate the memory of
Dr. Abdullayev's life here with photos of this year's fresh November
harvest of crocus blossoms from the island of Sardinia, an island
off the coast of Italy
They were sent to us by Anna Tatti whose superb photos from last
year's crop from her cousin Antonio Cao's saffron farm were used
to illustrate Dr. Abdullayev's article this past summer.
Upon learning of his death, Anna wrote us: "Even though
I had never met Dr. Abdullayev, I feel as if I had lost a friend.
I read all his articles about his studies and I was planning
to ask him more about saffron. I hope he saw the last issue of
the magazine with his article and the photos. I'll dearly treasure
mine. "Yesterday, I showed his saffron article to my cousins
in Sardinia and they were so surprised and proud to see themselves
in the magazine because they felt their job was appreciated and
of this year's saffron crop (stigmata from crocus blossoms) from
Antonio Cao's farm.
Right: This year's blossoms have more green
foliage, unlike last year, which produced only blossoms. The
presence of foliage seems to be one of nature's enigmas and doesn't
seem to influence the quality of the saffron. Photos: Anna Tatti, Sardinia
It's stunning the interest the magazine has generated around
here about saffron. People begin to realize how precious and
valuable this plant is. In the past they simply took it for granted. "Unfortunately, we take too many things for
granted. Fortunately, our family doesn't have cancer despite
how prevalent this disease is on our island because of large
military bases here. We use saffron in many dishes.
Words are inadequate to ease
the sorrow of Dr. Abdullayev's family for the inestimable loss
they have suffered but it seems he has not really left us. He
is still with us. His studies, his research, his cultural and
human inheritance cannot die. It is our duty to keep them alive
and to continue his work.
Left: Saffron crocus blossoms: back cover of Azerbaijan
International, AI 14.2 (Summer 2006) featuring the superb
photography of Anna Tatti in Sardinia.
As an Italian poet once
said: 'Sol chi non lascia eredità d'affetti poca gioia
ha dell'urna' (The person who leaves no emotional inheritance
is the only one who really dies).Readers may send condolences
to Dr. Abdullayev's family by signing his Guest Book on the Web
Friends and colleagues from various countries including Azerbaijan,
Iran, New Zealand, Greece, Spain and Mexico have already done
so. Also, his Web site is a good resource to learn more about
Abdullayev's research and publications related to saffron.
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AI 14.3 (Autumn 2006)
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