Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 85, Issue 2, pp 293–303 | Cite as

Effects of dark treatment and regular light recovery on the growth characteristics and regulation of chlorophyll in water dropwort

  • Xin-Yue Zhang
  • Tong Li
  • Guo-Fei Tan
  • Ying Huang
  • Feng Wang
  • Ai-Sheng Xiong
Original paper


Water dropwort is one of Apiaceae vegetables. Dark treatment could help to promote the degradation of chlorophyll and improve exterior quality and flavor of vegetable crops. Previous studies showed that the chlorophylls content would dramatically reduce in the dark, while the chlorophylls content would be promoted after regular light recovery. However, the understanding of the metabolic mechanism is limited in water dropwort. We treated the water dropwort under the dark at 0, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 and 25 days, then, recovered with regular light for 2 and 4 days, respectively. The total of chlorophylls content gradually degraded and the chlorophyll a content decreased faster than chlorophyll b content during dark treatment in water dropwort. After regular light recovery, the expression levels of the genes related to chlorophyll synthesis and transformation were increased, while the expression levels of PPH and PAO degradation-related genes decreased gradually. The water dropwort sprouted a large amount of newborn petioles and leaf blades after 16 days dark treatment. After regular light recovery, chlorophyll content and gene expression level both increased slowly. The plants would maintain lower chlorophyll content for a long time and have a longer shelf-life after 16 days dark treatment. Taken together, the results suggested that the best time of blanching culture for water dropwort is 16 days. This study could help to elucidate the chlorophyll metabolism in water dropwort during blanching culture and provide new perspectives for screening the best time of dark treatment for water dropwort.


Water dropwort Dark treatment Light recovery Chlorophyll Expression analysis Blanching culture 



Chlorophyllide a oxygenase




Magnesium-chelatase subunit ChlH


Magnesium-protoporphyrin O-methyltransferase


Putative chlorophyllase


Chlorophyll synthase


Divinyl chlorophyllide a 8-vinyl-reductase


7-Hydroxymethyl chlorophyll a reductase


Magnesium-protoporphyrin IX monomethyl ester


Chlorophyll(ide) b reductase NOL


Chlorophyll(ide) b reductase NYC1


Pheophorbide a oxygenase


Protochlorophyllide reductase





The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31272175); New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-11-0670); Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD).

Author contributions

Conceived and designed the experiments: ASX and XYZ. Performed the experiments: XYZ, TL, GFT, YH and FW. Analyzed the data: XYZ, TL and ASX. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: ASX. Wrote the paper: XYZ. Revised the paper: ASX, XYZ and TL. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10725_2018_395_MOESM1_ESM.tif (6.6 mb)
Supplementary Figure S1: Chlorophyll degradation and transformation cycle. A: ChlH, B: ChlM, C: MPE, D: DVR, E: POR, F: Light-independent protophyllidereductase subunit L, G: PPH, H: PAO, I: CAO, J: NYC1 & NOL, K: CS, L: CLH, M: HCAR (TIF 6759 KB)
10725_2018_395_MOESM2_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 17 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xin-Yue Zhang
    • 1
  • Tong Li
    • 1
  • Guo-Fei Tan
    • 1
  • Ying Huang
    • 1
  • Feng Wang
    • 1
  • Ai-Sheng Xiong
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, College of HorticultureNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina

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