Horticulture, Environment, and Biotechnology

, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 588–596 | Cite as

Short-term low temperature increases phenolic antioxidant levels in kale

  • Jin-Hui Lee
  • Myung-Min Oh
Research Report Cultivation Physiology


The objective of this study was to determine the effect of short-term low temperature on the concentration of phenolic antioxidant compounds in kale. For the low-temperature treatment, two kale cultivars (‘Manchoo Collard’ and ‘TBC’) grown for 3 weeks in a growth chamber were subjected to 4°C for 3 days, and subsequently allowed to recover for 2 days under normal growth conditions (20°C). Fresh and dry shoot and root weights, chlorophyll fluorescence (potential quantum yield in dark-adapted conditions), reactive oxygen species (O2 ·- and H2O2), total phenolic concentration, antioxidant capacity, individual phenolics, and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) activity were measured before and after treatment. No significant difference was observed between the control and low-temperature treatments in the fresh or dry shoot or root weights of either cultivar. The Fv/Fm decreased during the low-temperature treatment in both cultivars, and O2 ·- and H2O2 were generated in ‘Manchoo Collard’ leaves treated with low temperature but not in ‘TBC’ leaves. ‘Manchoo Collard’ had a 15% higher total phenolic concentration than the control after 2 days of recovery, whereas that of ‘TBC’ was 16% lower than that of the control. Individual phenolic compounds, such as caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and kaempferol, exhibited a similar trend to the total phenolic concentration and antioxidant capacity. The increased PAL activity in ‘Manchoo Collard’ at low temperature was in accord with the total and individual phenolic content results. These results suggest that a short-term low temperature during cultivation of kale in a controlled environment is a potential strategy to increase the plant’s phenolic antioxidant compound content.

Additional key words

Brassica oleracea var. acephala chlorophyll fluorescence ratio individual phenolic compounds phenylalanine ammonia-lyase phytochemicals reactive oxygen species 


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Copyright information

© Korean Society for Horticultural Science and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Animal, Horticultural and Food SciencesChungbuk National UniversityCheongjuKorea
  2. 2.Brain Korea Center for Bio-Resource DevelopmentChungbuk National UniversityCheongjuKorea

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