Effects of Abscisic Acid on Capsanthin Levels in Pepper Fruit

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important plant hormone that plays an important role in stress responses. Previous studies have suggested that ABA can also accelerate ripening in climacteric and nonclimacteric fruit. Capsanthin is a carotenoid that confers red coloration to mature pepper (Capsicum annuum) fruit. However, the effect of ABA on capsanthin accumulation in pepper fruit has not been thoroughly studied. Herein, we aimed to evaluate the effects of ABA treatment on capsanthin accumulation in pepper fruit and on the expression of key genes involved in the capsanthin biosynthetic pathway. For this purpose, we treated pepper fruit with ABA at green mature stage. Our results indicate that ABA treatment increased capsanthin content in pepper fruit, with the best result obtained with 150 mg·L−1 ABA solution. Application of exogenous ABA also increased the expression levels of the capsanthin synthesis genes phytoene synthase (Psy), lycopene β-cyclase (Lcyb), β-carotene hydroxylase (Crtz), and capsanthin/capsorubin synthase (Ccs), likely explaining the significant capsanthin content increase in pepper fruit.

Contributor Notes

The following organizations are acknowledged for their financial support: National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2016YFD0101900), National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 31272163), Innovation Scientists and Technicians Troop Construction Projects of Henan Province (C20150054), Science and Technology Development Project of Henan Province (162102110084), and Key Scientific Research Projects in Universities of Henan Province (16A210010).

Corresponding author. E-mail: zhgong@nwsuaf.edu.cn.

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    The effect of different concentrations of abscisic acid [ABA (900, 600, 300, 150, and 100 mg·L−1)] on capsanthin accumulation in pepper fruit. Treatment was performed at the green mature stage (25 d after flowering) by immersing fruit in ABA solution (900, 600, 300, 150, or 100 mg·L−1) for 10 s; untreated control fruit were immersed in distilled water for 10 s. All values are means ± se. Mean separation was performed by Duncan’s multiple-range test. Least significant range analysis at 5% significance is shown in lowercase letters. All experiments were carried out in triplicate. Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly.

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    The effect of pepper fruit maturity stage on capsanthin accumulation after abscisic acid (ABA) treatment. Treatment was performed by immersing fruit in ABA solution (150 mg·L−1) for 10 s; untreated control fruit were immersed in distilled water for 10 s; YF = young fruit period (10 d after flowering); GM = green mature (25 d after flowering); CC = color-changed period (30 d after flowering); RF = red fruit period (43 d after flowering). Duncan’s multiple-range test was used, and least significant range analysis at 5% significance is shown in lowercase letters in the same day of control and treatment. All experiments were carried out in triplicate. Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly.

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    Capsanthin content in pepper fruit after abscisic acid (ABA) treatment. ABA treatment was performed at the green mature stage (25 d after flowering) by immersing fruit in the diluted ABA solution (150 mg·L−1) for 10 s; untreated control fruit were immersed in distilled water for 10 s. All values are means ± se. Mean separation was performed by Duncan’s multiple-range test. Least significant range analysis at 5% significance is shown in lowercase letters. All experiments were carried out in triplicate. Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly.

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    Antheraxanthin content in pepper fruit after abscisic acid (ABA) treatment. ABA treatment was performed at the green mature stage (25 d after flowering) by immersing fruit in the diluted ABA solution (150 mg·L−1) for 10 s; untreated control fruit were immersed in distilled water for 10 s. All values are means ± se. Mean separation was performed by Duncan’s multiple-range test. Least significant range analysis at 5% significance is shown in lowercase letters. All experiments were carried out in triplicate. Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly.

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    Effect of abscisic acid (ABA) on the expression level of capsanthin biosynthesis genes. ABA treatment was performed at the green mature stage (25 d after flowering) by immersing pepper fruit in the diluted ABA solution (150 mg·L−1) for 10 s; untreated control fruit were immersed in distilled water for 10 s. All values are means ± se. Mean separation was performed by Duncan’s multiple-range test. Least significant range analysis at 5% significance is shown in lowercase letters. All experiments were carried out in triplicate. Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly between treatment and control for the same gene. The values are relative to Lcyb expression levels on day 9 in the control group considered to have a value of 1.

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    Comparison of pepper fruit weight (A) and yield (B) between treatment and control groups. Abscisic acid (ABA) treatment was performed at the green mature stage (25 d after flowering) by immersing fruit in the diluted ABA solution (150 mg·L−1) for 10 s; untreated control fruit were immersed in distilled water for 10 s. All values are means ± se. Mean separation was performed by Duncan’s multiple-range test. Least significant range analysis at 5% significance is shown in lowercase letters; all samples were carried out in triplicate. Means of fruit weight followed by the same letter do not differ significantly between treatment and control group. Means of yield followed by the same letter do not differ significantly between treatment and control group.

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