Apparent expression of flower colours and internal variation of enzyme activities in some typical phenotypes of dyer's saffron cultivars

Koshi Saito, Akiyoshi Fukushima


Phytochemical screening of four Carthamus pigments in phenotypically different cultivars of dyer's saffron was carried out by means of chromatographic techniques. The pigment composition in the floral part correlated well with the flower colour, supporting these components as idoneous chemotaxonomic markers. Among seven cultivars examined, three were orange-yellow and contained carthamin (red) and precarthamin, safflor yellow A and safflor yellow B (orange-yellow) (type 0). There were bright-yellow and also had the above four pigments (type Y). The seventh cultivar was ivory-white and produced no quinoidal chalcones in the florets (type W). Relative activities of three different enzymes were examined in soluble protein extracts from etiolated seedlings of the garden varieties. Monophenol monooxygenase (EC and peroxidase (EC were distributed over all cultivars tested. The relative level of the enzyme activities could be ordered as follows: type 0, type W and type Y. The activity of a carthamin-synthesizing enzyme was found in the protein extracts from all garden forms examined. Its activity was most prominent in type O. The activity level in type W was inferior to that of type O. The catalytic intensity in type Y was found to even lower. The results were discussed as to the composition of the phenotypic markers and the distribution of the enzyme activities in three different garden forms of dyer's saffron cultivars.


Carthamus tinctorius; dyer's saffron cultivars; pigment composition; enzyme activity

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