Optical properties and nondestructive estimation of anthocyanin content in plant leaves

Anatoly A. Gitelson, Mark N. Merzlyak, Olga B. Chivkunova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

423 Scopus citations


Absorption and reflectance spectra of maple (Acer platanoides), cotoneaster (Cotoneaster alaunica), dogwood (Cornus alba) and pelargonium (Pelargonium zonale) leaves with a wide range of pigment content and composition were studied in visible and near-infrared spectra in order to reveal specific anthocyanin (Anth) spectral features in leaves. Comparing absorption spectra of Anth-containing and Anth-free leaves with the same chlorophyll (Chl) content, absorption spectra of Anth in leaves were derived. The main spectral feature of Anth absorption in vivo was a peak around 550 nm; the peak magnitude was closely related to Anth content. A quantitative nondestructive technique was developed to subtract Chl contribution to reflectance in this spectral region and retrieve Anth content from reflectance over a wide range of pigment content and composition. Anth reflectance index in the form ARI = (R550)-1 - (R700)-1, where (R550)-1 and (R700)-1 are inverse reflectances at 550 and 700 nm, respectively, allowed an accurate estimation of Anth accumulation, even in minute amounts, in intact senescing and stressed leaves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-45
Number of pages8
JournalPhotochemistry and Photobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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