Apple flavonols during fruit adaptation to solar radiation: Spectral features and technique for non-destructive assessment

Mark N. Merzlyak, Alexei E. Solovchenko, Alexei I. Smagin, Anatoly A. Gitelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Spectral properties of flavonols of three varieties (Golden Delicious, Antonovka, and Renet Simirenko) of anthocyanin-free apple fruit were investigated with reflectance spectroscopy. The results of spectral and biochemical analyses suggested that fruit reflectance in a broad spectral range 365-430 nm is strongly dependent on and, in sunlit fruit surfaces, governed by flavonols. The build up of peel flavonols (mainly rutin and other quercetin glycosides) resulted in a dramatic decrease of fruit reflectance in this range, flattening of the spectrum, and extending the region with low reflectance (4-5%) to ca. 410 nm. The spectral features observed suggest that flavonols contribute significantly to screening of excessive radiation, not only UV-A, but in the short-wave bands of chlorophyll and carotenoid absorption in the visible part of the spectrum as well. To retrieve quantitatively flavonol content from reflectance spectra, we tested the applicability of an inversion technique developed for non-destructive leaf pigment assessment. The model for flavonol content assessment was suggested in the form (R410-1-R460-1)R800, where R λ is reflectance at wavelength λ. The model was linearly related to flavonol content between 8 and 220 nmol/cm2 with the coefficient of determination r2=0.92 and root mean square error of flavonol estimation of 20 nmol/cm2 regardless of cultivar, chlorophyll, and carotenoid content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-160
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Plant Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 21 2005


  • Adaptation to solar radiation
  • Apples
  • Flavonols
  • Non-destructive assessment
  • Reflectance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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