Fruit of two apple ( Malus domestica Borkh.) cultivars, differing in their ability to produce anthocyanin pigments when exposed to sunlight, have been studied using reflectance spectroscopy. Comparison of the spectra shows that apple anthocyanins in vivo possess a symmetric absorption band at 500–600 nm with a maximum near 550 nm. Anthocyanins considerably increase light absorption by apples. In on-tree-ripening Zhigulevskoe apples, accumulating high amounts of anthocyanin pigments, chlorophyll contents in sunlit and shaded sides of the fruits are found to be similar. In contrast, frequently considerably lower chlorophyll content is estimated in sunlit compared with shaded sides of Antonovka apples exhibiting low potential for anthocyanin formation. Sunlight also brings about an increase of carotenoid content over that of chlorophylls and accumulation of substances responsible for light absorption in the range 350–400 nm. The rates of high-light-induced chlorophyll bleaching in red zones of fruit containing anthocyanins are considerably lower than those in green zones and decrease with an increase in the pigment content. Anthocyanins show more stability to irradiation than chlorophylls. A protective function of anthocyanins against both light-induced stress in, and damage to, apples is suggested. It is proposed that anthocyanins function as an effective internal light trap filling the chlorophyll absorption gap in the green–orange part of the visible spectrum.
Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology – Elsevier
Published: May 30, 2000
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