Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 181–185 | Cite as

Influence of light on natural indigo production from woad (Isatis tinctoria)

  • Kerry G. Stoker
  • David T. Cooke
  • David J. Hill


In woad (Isatis tinctoria), field observations indicated, that after periods of dry sunny weather, indigo yields increased significantly, suggesting that light intensity and quality affected indigo precursor production. Therefore, woad was grown under different light intensities and in the presence or absence of supplementary UV light. In general, plants supplied with more light produced more indigo than those given lesser light. When plants under greater light regimes were transferred to lesser light conditions, then indigo production declined. The opposite was also true, indicating that greater indigo production can be obtained from plants harvested after periods of increased sunlight.

environment indigo Isatis tinctoria light photosynthetically active radiation secondary metabolism UV-B radiation woad 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ålenius CA, Vogelmann TC and Bornman JF (1995) A three-dimensional representation of the relationship between penetration of UV-B radiation and UV-screening pigments in leaves of Brassica napus. New Phytol 131: 297-302Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Beijerinck MW and Hazewinkel (1899) On the formation of indigo from the woad. Proc Royal Acad Sci Amsterdam, September: 120-129Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Berkelaar EJ, Ormrod DP and Hale BA (1996) The influence of photosynthetically active radiation on the effects of ultraviolet-B radiation on Arabidopsis thaliana. Photochem Photobiol 64: 110-116Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Berkeley C (1961) Indigotin content of woad. Nature 191: 1414-1415Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Caldwell MM (1971) Solar UV irradiation and the growth and development of higher plants. In: Giese AC (ed) Photophysiology Vol. VI, Current Topics in Photobiology and Photochemistry. New York, USA: Academic PressGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Epstein E, Nabors MW and Stowe BB (1967) The origin of indigo in woad. Nature 216: 547-549Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kramer GF, Krizek DT and Mirecki RM (1992) Influence of photosynthetically active radiation and spectral quality on UV-B-induced polyamine accumulation in soybean. Phytochemistry 31: 1119-1125Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Liu L, Gitz III DC and McClure JW (1995) Effects of UVB on flavonoids, ferulic acid, growth and photosynthesis in barley primary leaves. Physiol Plant 93: 725-733Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Liu L and McClure JW (1995) Effects of UV-B on activities of enzymes of secondary phenolic metabolism in barley primary leaves. Physiol Plant 93: 734-739Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Martin-Leake H (1975) An historical memoir of the indigo industry in Bihar. Econ Bot 29: 361-371Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mills JS and White R (1994) The Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects, (2nd edition). Oxford: Butterworth HeinemannGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Perkin AG and Everest AE (1918) The Natural Organic Chemistry of Colouring Matters, pp 474-528 (1st edition). London: Longmans Green and Co.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Popp HW and Mcilvane HRC (1937) Growth substances in relation to the mechanism of the action of radiation on plants. J Ag Res 55: 931-936Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sandberg G (1989) Indigo Textiles, Technique and History. London: A&;C BlackGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Schunk E (1955) On the formation of indigo blue. Phil Mag Ser 4 10: 74-95Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Stace C (1997) New Flora of the British Isles (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Stoker KG (1997) The Cultivation of Woad (Isatis tinctoria) for Production of Natural Indigo: Agronomy, Extraction and Biochemical Aspects. PhD Thesis, University of Bristol, Faculty of ScienceGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Strobel J and Gröger D (1989) Ñber das Vorkommen von Indigovorstufen in Isatis-Species. Biochem Physiol Pflan 184: 321-327Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerry G. Stoker
    • 1
  • David T. Cooke
    • 1
  • David J. Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of BristolBristol

Personalised recommendations