The Impact of Stress Response on Anthocyanin Production in Creeping Bentgrass


Asha McElroy

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Dr. Eric Watkins


Food and Nutritional Science

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Anthocyanins are plant pigments of red, violet, or blue color in fruits, vegetables, flowers, and foliage. Anthocyanins can found constitutively, or production can increase as a result of stress, especially due to deficiency in phosphorus or in response to high levels of light. Phosphorus is a macronutrient necessary for plant growth, but phosphorus can have negative environmental impacts in water runoff. Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) is a turfgrass that is primarily used on golf courses, and can often be found with purpling leaves. However, if this is always and only due to phosphorus deficiency is unknown. My objective was to determine if both phosphorus deficiency and high light intensity had a major impact on anthocyanin production in 16 genotypes of creeping bentgrass. Two experiments were conducted under three levels of light. Condition 1 was no shade, 900 μmol m-2 s-1 of light; Condition 2 was 450 μmol m-2 s-1 of light, and Condition 3 was in the greenhouse as a control. In Experiment 1, the fertilizer applied did not contain phosphorus in a Hoagland’s 0.5x fertilizer. In Experiment 2, 1000 μM phosphorus was added to the fertilizer solution. Results showed that genotypes, SP L93 A and LP L93 D produced significant amounts of anthocyanin in both experiments in all conditions compared to all other genotypes. Additionally, certain genotypes produced anthocyanins no matter the conditions and the environment. In conclusion, certain creeping bentgrass genotypes produced anthocyanins in all conditions due to their genetics more than the interaction between genetics and their environment.

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