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Phytochemistry. 2006 May;67(10):992-8. Epub 2006 May 6.

Ferric ions involved in the flower color development of the Himalayan blue poppy, Meconopsis grandis.

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Graduate School of Information Science, Nagoya University, Chikusa, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.


The Himalayan blue poppy, Meconopsis grandis, has sky blue-colored petals, although the anthocyanidin nucleus of the petal pigment is cyanidin. The blue color development in this blue poppy involving ferric ions was therefore studied. We analyzed the vacuolar pH, and the organic and inorganic components of the colored cells. A direct measurement by a proton-selective microelectrode revealed that the vacuolar pH value was 4.8. The concentrations of the total anthocyanins in the colored cells were around 5mM, and ca. three times more concentrated flavonols were detected. Fe was detected by atomic analysis of the colored cells, and the ratio of Fe to anthocyanins was ca. 0.8 eq. By mixing the anthocyanin, flavonol and metal ion components in a buffered aq. solution at pH 5.0, we were able to reproduce the same blue color; the visible absorption spectrum and CD were identical to those in the petals, with Fe(3+), Mg(2+) and flavonol being essential for the blue color. The blue pigment in Meconopsis should be a new type of metal complex pigment that is different from a stoichiometric supramolecular pigment such as commelinin or protocyanin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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