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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01049

Accumulation of anthocyanins: an adaptation strategy of Mikania micrantha to low temperature in winter

 Qilei Zhang1, Junjie Zhai1, Ling Shao2, Wei Lin1 and  Changlian Peng1*
  • 1South China Normal University, China
  • 2Zhaoqing University, China

The accumulation of anthocyanins in leaves and stems of Mikania micrantha improves its adaptability to low-temperature environments during winter in areas where this species is invasive. The accumulation of anthocyanins in M. micrantha causes the plants to exhibit red coloration when encountering low-temperature environments during winter. Many studies have reported that the accumulation of anthocyanins near the plant surface filters light and improves photoprotection. However, the results of this study showed that the main role of anthocyanins accumulation in M. micrantha during winter was to increase both antioxidant capability and tolerance to low temperature. The results showed that the anthocyanins contents were significantly higher in red leaves and stems than in green leaves and stems, with a more than 60-fold greater content in red leaves than in green leaves. In addition, the total antioxidant capability was significantly greater in red leaves and stems than in green leaves and stems. After 4°C treatment for 12 h, a large amount of reactive oxygen species accumulated in green leaves and stems, and the maximum photochemical efficiency decreased significantly. Compared with that of the green leaves, the net photosynthetic rate of red leaves was significantly higher. The biomass statistics revealed that the dry matter accumulation of M. micrantha plants with relatively large amounts of anthocyanins was significantly greater than that of plants with relatively low anthocyanins levels during the same period. Our results suggest that the accumulation of anthocyanins during winter is an adaptation strategy of M. micrantha to low winter temperatures.

Keywords: Anthocyanins, antioxidant activity, gas exchange, Mikania micrantha, winter

Received: 30 Apr 2019; Accepted: 29 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Wim Van Den Ende, KU Leuven, Belgium

Reviewed by:

Rudy Dolferus, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia
Yi Li, University of Southern California, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Zhang, Zhai, Shao, Lin and Peng. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Changlian Peng, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China, pengchl@scib.ac.cn