Pigment concentrations in leaf tissue affect the visual and nutritional value-based indices of lettuce crop quality. To better discern the independent and interactive effects of temperature and cultivar on anthocyanin and chlorophyll b concentrations, three closely related Lolla Rosso lettuce cultivars (`Lotto', `Valeria', and `Impuls'), varying primarily in the number of genes controlling anthocyanin concentrations, were subjected to different air temperatures in controlled environments. Fifteen-day-old seedlings previously grown at 20 °C day/night (D/N) were transplanted into growth chambers maintained at 20 °C (D/N), 30/20 °C D/N and 30 °C D/N air temperatures. Twenty days later, leaf tissue was sampled for measures of pigment concentrations, calculated based on spectrophotometric absorbance readings taken at 530 nm (anthocyanin) and 660 nm (chlorophyll b) respectively. Although significant, the temperature × cultivar interaction resulted from differences in the magnitude (not direction) of the change in pigment concentrations among cultivars with changes in temperature. Regardless of cultivar, anthocyanin and chlorophyll b concentrations were highest, moderate and lowest after growth at 20 °C D/N, 30/20 °C D/N and 30 °C D/N respectively. Likewise, irrespective of temperature, anthocyanin and chlorophyll b concentrations followed the pattern `Impuls' (three genes) > `Valeria' (two genes) > `Lotto' (one gene). These data provide additional strong evidence that lettuce leaf pigment concentrations and growing temperatures are negatively related. The data also suggest that low temperatures during the dark phase may mitigate high temperature-driven reductions in lettuce leaf pigment levels.
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