In addition to their physiological and metabolic roles, anthocyanin (Antho) levels in lettuce contribute to visual and nutritional value-based assessments of crop quality. Although 7 genes are now thought to help regulate Antho synthesis, deposition and/or degradation in lettuce, the genetic and abiotic controls of Antho levels remain less well characterized in lettuce than other plants. Previous greenhouse studies demonstrated that Antho levels in diverse lettuce varieties are a function of temperature and lighting regimen. Here, three strongly related Lolla Rossa-type varieties (`Lotto', `Valeria', and `Impuls') varying in the number of genes controlling intensity of anthocyanins were subjected to differential temperature conditions in growth chambers to better discern the independent and interactive effects of temperature (T) and variety (V) on Antho levels. Fifteen day-old seedlings were placed into one of three chambers maintained at 20 °C day/night (D/N), 30 °C/20 °C D/N or 30 °C D/N. Antho levels were measured in leaf tissue collected 30 d after transplanting. The entire experiment was replicated twice. Although significant, the T x V interaction resulted from differences in the magnitude, not direction, of the change in Antho concentrations among varieties with changes in T. This suggests that T was a main driver of Antho levels in this study. Regardless of V, Antho concentrations were highest, moderate and lowest after growth at 20 °C D/N, 30 °C/20 °C D/N and 30 °C D/N, respectively. Likewise, regardless of T, Antho levels followed the pattern `Impuls' (three genes) > `Valeria' (two genes) > `Lotto' (one gene). Correlations among instrumented and human eye-based evaluations of color are also being tested in samples from both studies.
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