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Effects of Developmental Stages and Reduced UVB and Low UV Conditions on Plant Secondary Metabolite Profiles in Pak Choi (Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis)

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journal contribution
posted on 03.02.2018, 00:00 authored by Mandy Heinze, Franziska S. Hanschen, Melanie Wiesner-Reinhold, Susanne Baldermann, Jan Gräfe, Monika Schreiner, Susanne Neugart
Pak choi (Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis) is rich in secondary metabolites and contains numerous antioxidants, including flavonoids; hydroxycinnamic acids; carotenoids; chlorophylls; and glucosinolates, which can be hydrolyzed to epithionitriles, nitriles, or isothiocyanates. Here, we investigate the effect of reduced exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) and UV (UVA and UVB) light at four different developmental stages of pak choi. We found that both the plant morphology and secondary metabolite profiles were affected by reduced exposure to UVB and UV, depending on the plant’s developmental stage. In detail, mature 15- and 30-leaf plants had higher concentrations of flavonoids, hydroxycinnamic acids, carotenoids, and chlorophylls, whereas sprouts contained high concentrations of glucosinolates and their hydrolysis products. Dry weights and leaf areas increased as a result of reduced UVB and low UV. For the flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic acids in 30-leaf plants, less complex compounds were favored, for example, sinapic acid acylated kaempferol triglycoside instead of the corresponding tetraglycoside. Moreover, also in 30-leaf plants, zeaxanthin, a carotenoid linked to protection during photosynthesis, was increased under low UV conditions. Interestingly, most glucosinolates were not affected by reduced UVB and low UV conditions. However, this study underlines the importance of 4-(methylsulfinyl)­butyl glucosinolate in response to UVA and UVB exposure. Further, reduced UVB and low UV conditions resulted in higher concentrations of glucosinolate-derived nitriles. In conclusion, exposure to low doses of UVB and UV from the early to late developmental stages did not result in overall lower concentrations of plant secondary metabolites.