[Plant-education] Re: Study of anthocyans

David R. Hershey dh321 at excite.com
Thu Oct 13 23:15:00 EST 2005

There is a purple fast plant cultivar that is used in teaching
exercises on Mendelian inheritance of purple pigmentation and effects
of light level on anthocyanin development.


It might be interesting to include an exercise on betalains, which
replace anthocyanins in over 11,000 species in about 10 families.

Introduction to the Caryophyllids: The Betalain Bunch

The most familar betalain source is probably red beet. A common student
project involves the effect of temperature on membrane stability in red
beet root. Membrane stability is measured by the amount of betalain


The effect of other factors, such as pH, on beet membranes or betalains
can also be examined:

Reid, M. S., Paul, J.L. and Young, R.E. 1980. Effects of pH and
ethephon on Betacyanin leakage from beet root discs. Plant Physiology
66(5): 1015-1016.

Some other labs are described in the following articles:

Daniel, T.F. and T. Johns. 1982. A laboratory on chemotaxonomy: the
systematic distribution of betalains. Amer. Biol. Teacher 44: 308-310.

Kamrin, Anne A. and LaVan, Joan S. 1984. Demonstrating osmosis and
anthocyanins using purple onion. Amer. Biol. Teacher 46: 116-117.

David R. Hershey

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