Characterization of chlorophyll pigments in ripening canola seed (Brassica napus)


This study characterizes the chlorophyll pigments in ripeningBrassica napus seed. Seed samples, collected weekly as the crop ripened, were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography to characterize chlorophyll pigment composition. Chlorophyll A, chlorophyll B, pheophytin A and pheophytin B were the predominant pigments, while pheophorbide A, methylpheophorbide A and pyropheophytin A were minor components. No differences in pigment composition were observed between the three cultivars tested or between early and late seeding dates. There were differences in pigment composition between the two years of the study, which may result either from seed aging during storage or from environmental influences. Pigment composition was dependent on seed maturity, with physiologically mature green seeds containing both chlorophylls and pheophytins, but fully mature seeds containing only chlorophylls. Pheophytins and the minor components appeared transiently, presumably formed from the chlorophylls and subsequently degraded. The ratio of chlorophyll A/B increased during seed ripening, with fully mature canola seed having a chlorophyll A/B ratio twice that of physiologically mature green seed. The “B” derivatives degraded faster than the “A” derivatives, suggesting enzymatic reactions. The initial steps in the chlorophyll breakdown pathway in canola seed appear to be:

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Correspondence to Kerry Ward.

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Ward, K., Scarth, R., Daun, J.K. et al. Characterization of chlorophyll pigments in ripening canola seed (Brassica napus). J Am Oil Chem Soc 71, 1327–1331 (1994).

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Key Words

  • Canola seed
  • chlorophyll
  • chlorophyll analysis
  • chlorophyll breakdown pathway
  • chlorophyll catabolism
  • green seed
  • high-performance liquid chromatography
  • pheophytin
  • pigment
  • ripening