The biochemical base of flower color in Bidens ferulifolia

Bidens ferulifolia is a yellow flowering plant originating from Mexico, which is increasingly popular as an ornamental plant. In the past few years, new color combinations ranging from pure yellow over yellow-red, white-red, pure white, and purple have emerged on the market.

Analyzed 16 Bidens ferulifolia genotypes to provide insight into the (bio)chemical base underlying the color formation, which involves flavonoids, anthophilous, and carotenoids. In all but purple and white genotypes, anthophilous were the prevalent pigments, primarily derivatives of okay in a 6′-deoxychalcone carrying an unusual 2′3′4′-hydroxylation pattern in ring A. The presence of a cytochrome-P450-dependent monooxygenase introducing the additional hydroxyl group in position 3′ of both isoliquiritigenin and butein was demonstrated for the first time.

Yellow Bidens 

All genotypes accumulate considerable amounts of the flavone luteolin. Red and purple genotypes additionally accumulate cyanidin-type anthocyanins. Acyanic genotypes lack flavanone 3-hydroxylase and/or dihydroflavonol 4-reductase activity, which creates a bottleneck in the anthocyanin pathway.

The carotenoid spectrum was analyzed in two Bidens genotypes and showed strong variation between the two cultivars. In comparison to anthophilous, carotenoids were present in much lower concentrations. Carotenoid monoesters, as well as diesters, were determined for the first time in B. ferulifolia flower extracts.

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Walliser, Benjamin & Marinovic, Silvija & Kornpointner, Christoph & Schlosser, Christopher & Abouelnasr, Mustafa & Hutabarat, Olly & Haselmair-Gosch, Christian & Molitor, Christian & Stich, Karl & Halbwirth, Heidi. (2022). The (Bio)chemical Base of Flower Colour in Bidens ferulifolia. Plants. 11. 1289. 10.3390/plants11101289.

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