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  • Author or Editor: John P. Hart x
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The color of vegetables is an important factor in consumer food choices and in cultivar choice by growers and processors for production. In absorbing a broad spectrum of light, leaves support plant development by influencing factors such as biomass accumulation, chlorophyll content, and reproductive growth. The edible organ of the snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is the pod, and its color is not only one of the most important traits for commercial consideration, but also influences phytonutrient content. Although chlorophyll provides the base color, other compounds such as carotenoids and flavonoids may affect leaf and pod color. Darker yellow- or blue-green pods are preferred for processing, but there is more leeway for fresh market, with lighter-colored pods being acceptable. This research characterized leaf and pod color variation in the 378-member Snap Bean Association Panel. Leaf and pod colors were measured with a colorimeter using the L*a*b* scale, which was then transformed to L* (lightness), C* (chroma), and H° (hue angle) for analysis. Both green and wax bean accessions had predominantly green leaves, even though both exterior and interior colors of pods varied by accession. The leaves at the upper level in the canopy were lighter than lower and middle-level leaves. C* of leaves was similar across environments but leaves from the field were greener than leaves of greenhouse-grown plants when converted to Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) values, even though they had similar H°. L* did not differ for corresponding leaf positions of both field and greenhouse leaves. Purple pods were darker (lowest L*) and yellow pods were lighter (highest L*). Although wax beans had similar exterior and interior colors, accessions with purple exterior of pods had green interiors. Green pods were generally two times higher for L* and lower in C* compared with leaves. Pod interior L* was darker than exterior in both years. Pod exterior L* was not significantly different among accessions, whereas pod interior L* differed significantly between years. Broad sense heritabilities ranged from 0.69 to 0.88 for L*, 0.12 to 0. 87 for C*, and 0.81 to 0.89 for H°. Although greater variation was observed in pods than leaves, lower heritability was determined. Moderate correlations between leaf L* and the interior and exterior pod L* implies that it would be possible to select for pod color on the basis of leaf color, with verification using standard cultivars.

Open Access