About time: How light influences anthocyanin biosynthesis and stability in lettuce.

Global food demand is increasing due to the growing human population and pushes breeding towards highly productive cultivars. As production increases, the nutritional quality (minerals and phytochemicals) of these crops usually decreases. However, minerals and phytochemicals contained in food are essential for human metabolism and have been associated with reduced risk of diseases. Anthocyanins are phytochemicals responsible for the red and purple colour of fruits and vegetables (red cabbage, grapes, etc.). Even though, anthocyanins have strong antioxidant properties, too much of these compounds can negatively impact plant growth and taste. Therefore, an optimized content of these molecules in plants is desirable.

In this project, you will investigate the effect of different light environments on lettuce physiology, growth parameters and anthocyanin homeostasis in several green and red lettuce cultivars. You will also study the stability of anthocyanins at the pre and post-harvest stage. In parallel, you might also be involved in designing a time-lapse imaging system to follow the coloration through time under different light treatments.

Used skills

  • Lettuce cultivation
  • Phenotyping
  • qPCR
  • HPLC
  • Data analysis

Interested in doing a BSc or MSc thesis at HPP? Please contact the HPP student coordinator Katharina Hanika.