Reflectance spectral features and non-destructive estimation of chlorophyll, carotenoid and anthocyanin content in apple fruit

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

250 Scopus citations


Fruit reflectance spectra of five apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) cultivars (Zhigulevskoe, Antonovka, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Renet Simirenko) with a wide range of peel pigment (chlorophylls a and b, carotenoids and anthocyanins) content have been studied to develop non-destructive techniques for pigment assessment. In addition to chlorophylls, positions of in vivo absorption maxima were established for carotenoids (480, 455 and a shoulder at 425 nm) and for anthocyanins (near 550 nm). In anthocyanin-free fruit, a close relationship between reflectance at 550 nm (R550) and 700 nm (R700) has been found (r2 > 0.95). In fruit with chlorophyll content more than 5 nmol/cm2, the reflectance near 678 nm was insensitive to a variation in chlorophylls, whereas, reflectance in the bands 550-650 nm and 690-705 nm remained sensitive to chlorophyll content in a wide range of its variation. The reflectance ratios, R800/R700 and R800/R640, were directly proportional to total chlorophyll content ranging from 0.4 to 11 nmol/cm2 (r2 > 0.93). The reflectance in the band 520-530 nm was found to be dependent mostly on carotenoids absorption. The index R800(1/R520-1/R700) was suggested for estimation of carotenoid content in the range 0.6-4.5 nmol/cm2. The index for assessment of a carotenoid/chlorophyll ratio was proposed in the form, (R480-R678)/R800. Reflectance in the green region of the spectrum proved to be sensitive to anthocyanin content. The index R800(1/R550-1/R700) was developed to estimate anthocyanin content in peel ranging from 2.5 to 50 nmol/cm2; the determination coefficient of the index with anthocyanin content was higher than 0.93.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-211
Number of pages15
JournalPostharvest Biology and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2003


  • Anthocyanins
  • Apple fruit
  • Carotenoids
  • Chlorophyll
  • Non-destructive deterrnination
  • Reflectance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Horticulture

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