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  Eur.J.Hortic.Sci. 81 (5) 243-247 | DOI: 10.17660/eJHS.2016/81.5.2
ISSN 1611-4426 print and 1611-4434 online | © ISHS 2016 | European Journal of Horticultural Science | Original article

The rosmarinic acid content of basil and borage correlates with the ratio of red and far-red light

T. Schwend1, D. Prucker1, S. Peisl1, A. Nitsopoulos2 and H. Mempel1
1University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan-Triesdorf, Institut für Gartenbau, 85354 Freising, Germany
2Labor Friedle GmbH, 93105 Tegernheim, Germany

Rosmarinic acid (RA) and caffeic acid (CA) are potent antixodiants and show antimicrobial activity against many fungal plant pathogens. Their biosynthesis employs enzymes of the phenylpropanoid pathway, a pathway that in mustard is regulated by phytochrome. If RA biosynthesis is regulated by phytochromes one would expect that the RA level correlated with the ratio of red to far-red light. In this paper we tested this hypothesis by growing basil and borage under different ratios of red to far-red light. CA and RA contents were measured with state of the art LC-MS/MS. Regression analysis showed that there is a significant inverse correlation of the ratio of red to far-red light and the content of RA, but not of CA. Hence, we conclude that RA biosynthesis is regulated by phytochrome.

Keywords far-red light, light emitting diodes, light regime, phenylpropanoid pathway

Significance of this study

What is already known on this subject?

  • CA and RA are potent antioxidant and show antimicrobial activities.
What are the new findings?
  • We show that RA biosynthesis is promoted by a low ratio of red to far-red light, indicating that it is regulated by phytochrome.
What is the expected impact on horticulture?
  • Growers can use this information to design lighting strategies, which increases RA contents.

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Received: 15 January 2016 | Accepted: 26 July 2016 | Published: 30 October 2016 | Available online: 26 October 2016

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