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  Eur.J.Hortic.Sci. 81 (6) 297-302 | DOI: 10.17660/eJHS.2016/81.6.2
ISSN 1611-4426 print and 1611-4434 online | © ISHS 2016 | European Journal of Horticultural Science | Original article

Accumulation of anthocyanin in apples in response to blue light at 450 nm: recommendations for producing quality fruit color under global warming

O. Arakawa, S. Kikuya, P. Pungpomin, S. Zhang and N. Tanaka
Faculty of Agriculture and Life Science, Hirosaki University, Japan

SUMMARY
New apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) cultivars that can accumulate anthocyanin under nondirective visible light (without UV) and high temperatures will produce apples of good color under global warming conditions. However, how cultivars respond to visible light in terms of anthocyanin production and the role visible light plays in red color development have yet to be thoroughly studied. Accordingly, this study determined the effect of blue light on anthocyanin accumulation in two apple cultivars, 'Jonathan' and 'Fuji', under different temperatures. The results show that blue light of around 450 nm was most effective on anthocyanin accumulation in ‘Jonathan’ apples. This cultivar produced high amounts of anthocyanin and developed a dark red color under light-emitting diode (LED) blue light at 450 nm at temperatures between 15°-25°C. Even under temperatures as high as 30°C, blue light stimulated anthocyanin production, while its amount was low. These results suggest that this cultivar’s trait of responding to blue light at 450 nm could play a regulatory role in developing red color under nondirective visible light conditions, leading to the hypothesis that it may be possible to select new cultivars that easily develop red color under conditions of global warming.

Keywords anthocyanin, blue light, LED, red color

Significance of this study

What is already known on this subject?

  • The effective visible light region on color development in apple fruit had been studied, suggesting that blue light in the region of 450-480 nm and red light at the wavelength of 650 nm produced red color in apples. However, the most effective wavelength in the visible light region had not been shown, and the role of visible region on red color development remains unclear.
What are the new findings?
  • The action spectrum showed that the region around 450 nm was most effective for anthocyanin production in fruit of cv. 'Jonathan'. Under 450 nm this cultivar produced high amounts of anthocyanin and developed a dark red color at temperatures between 15°-25°C. In 'Fuji' fruit, the effect of blue light on anthocyanin accumulation and red color development was very less promotive. Results suggest that blue light (450 nm) induces to good apple coloration.
What is the expected impact on horticulture?
  • From the present results we propose that response to blue light at 450 nm contributes to good coloration under conditions of global warming. Our results can help breeders and growers select cultivars that easily develop a red color under such conditions. The blue light identified in this study may be useful for testing cultivar traits for fruit color development.

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E-mail: oarakawa@hirosaki-u.ac.jp  

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Received: 6 September 2016 | Accepted: 22 November 2016 | Published: 23 December 2016 | Available online: 23 December 2016

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