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Plant Cell Physiol. 2003 Mar;44(3):262-8.

Sepal color variation of Hydrangea macrophylla and vacuolar pH measured with a proton-selective microelectrode.

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  • 1Graduate School of Human Informatics, Nagoya University, Chikusa, Nagoya, 464-8601 Japan. yoshidak@info.human.nagoya-u.ac.jp


Sepal color of hydrangea varies with the environmental conditions. Although chemical and biological studies on this color variation have a long history, little correct knowledge has been generated about color development. All colored sepals contain the same anthocyanin, delphinidin 3-glucoside. Thus, there must be some other system for developing the wide variety of colors. In hydrangea sepals the cells of the epidermis are colorless and only the second layer of cells contain pigment. We prepared protoplasts without any color change during enzyme treatment of sepals and measured the vacuolar pH of each of the colored cells. We could correlate the color of a single hydrangea cell with its vacuolar pH using a combination of micro-spectrophotometry and a proton-selective microelectrode. Values for the vacuolar pH of blue (lambda vismax: 589 nm) and red cells (lambda vismax: 537 nm) were 4.1 and 3.3, respectively, the vacuolar pH of blue cells being significantly higher.

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