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Carrot Anthocyanins Genetics and Genomics: Status and Perspectives to Improve Its Application for the Food Colorant Industry

Authors
  • Iorizzo, Massimo1, 2
  • Curaba, Julien1
  • Pottorff, Marti1
  • Ferruzzi, Mario G.1
  • Simon, Philipp3
  • Cavagnaro, Pablo F.4
  • 1 (M.G.F.)
  • 2 Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
  • 3 Vegetable Crops Research Unit, US Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Madison, WI 53706, USA
  • 4 Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, National University of Cuyo, Mendoza 5505, Argentina
Type
Published Article
Journal
Genes
Publisher
MDPI AG
Publication Date
Aug 07, 2020
Volume
11
Issue
8
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/genes11080906
PMID: 32784714
PMCID: PMC7465225
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Purple or black carrots ( Daucus carota ssp. sativus var. atrorubens Alef) are characterized by their dark purple- to black-colored roots, owing their appearance to high anthocyanin concentrations. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the use of black carrot anthocyanins as natural food dyes. Black carrot roots contain large quantities of mono-acylated anthocyanins, which impart a measure of heat-, light- and pH-stability, enhancing the color-stability of food products over their shelf-life. The genetic pathway controlling anthocyanin biosynthesis appears well conserved among land plants; however, different variants of anthocyanin-related genes between cultivars results in tissue-specific accumulations of purple pigments. Thus, broad genetic variations of anthocyanin profile, and tissue-specific distributions in carrot tissues and organs, can be observed, and the ratio of acylated to non-acylated anthocyanins varies significantly in the purple carrot germplasm. Additionally, anthocyanins synthesis can also be influenced by a wide range of external factors, such as abiotic stressors and/or chemical elicitors, directly affecting the anthocyanin yield and stability potential in food and beverage applications. In this study, we critically review and discuss the current knowledge on anthocyanin diversity, genetics and the molecular mechanisms controlling anthocyanin accumulation in carrots. We also provide a view of the current knowledge gaps and advancement needs as regards developing and applying innovative molecular tools to improve the yield, product performance and stability of carrot anthocyanin for use as a natural food colorant.

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