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Color change in petals is a clever strategy to attract more pollinators and one of the attractive features of edible flowers for consumers. Several physiological, phytochemical, and ultrastructural factors are involved in this process. However, this phenomenon is well underexplored in white petals. In this study, we investigated the color changes of the white petals of the snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus 'Legend White') flower from different aspects during development and senescence. In the ultrastructural analysis, both epidermal and mesophyll cells were examined. During flower development, plastid transition and autophagy processes led to the fading of the green color of young petals and the reduction of starch content, chlorophyll, and carotenoids. The piecemeal chlorophagy was observed in the degradation of starch granules. Leucoplasts were converted into autophagosome-like structures and then disappeared. The presence of these structures was evidence of the transformation of the plastid to the vacuole. As the green color faded, phytochemical compounds were synthesized. With partial flower opening and progression of senescence, pH and phenolic compounds were responsible for color changes. The highest amount of phenolic compound was observed after the flower opening stages. However, Phenolic colored compounds or total anthocyanins became colorless under the influence of low pH. The decrease in starch content caused an increase in the lightness parameter, and the petal color changed to pale yellow. © Prof. H.S. Srivastava Foundation for Science and Society 2023. Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.


Roghayeh Nabipour Sanjbod, Esmaeil Chamani, Younes Pourbeyrami Hir, Asghar Estaji. Autophagic and phytochemical aspects of color changes in white petals of snapdragon flower during development and senescence. Physiology and molecular biology of plants : an international journal of functional plant biology. 2023 May;29(5):695-707

PMID: 37363413

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