Research matters... reflective foil improves apple colour

Dr Ken Cockshull, Emeritus Fellow at Warwick HRI, highlights the latest findings from horticultural research.

The red colour of apples is an important selection criterion for consumers and, therefore, also for retailers.

The colour is produced by compounds called anthocyanins and flavonols, and the intensity of colour is controlled by various factors. Light is probably the most important external factor and both its spectral quality and its daily integral have some effect.

The apple cultivar 'Fuji' was chosen for the experiments reported here because it is harvested late in autumn when poor colour development can be a problem, perhaps because of low light. Trees of 'Fuji' grafted on M9 were grown either under hail nets or in the open and either with or without a reflective foil spread over the orchard floor beneath the trees. The hail nets reduced average light levels but the reflective foil considerably increased the amount of light reaching the fruit, especially on their lower side.

The fruit with the most intense red colour generally came from trees that had reflective foil covering the orchard floor beneath them. This intense colour was associated with increases in certain anthocyanins. The poorest colour and the lowest concentrations of these anthocyanins occurred in fruit grown without any reflective floor covering and under hail nets.

The Effect of Reflective Foil and Hail Nets on the Lighting, Color and Anthocyanins of 'Fuji' Apple by Jakopic, Veberic and Stampar (2007). Scientia Horticulturae 115: 40-46. The contents of issues of Scientia Horticulturae and abstracts of papers are provided at

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

What challenges and opportunities lie in store for tomato growers?

What challenges and opportunities lie in store for tomato growers?

The British Tomato Growers Association (TGA) conference heard a range of perspectives on what changes lie in store for the sector and how to anticipate them.

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

As the British apple season begins, English Apples & Pears (EAP) is warning that growers will feel the effects of both a late frost in spring and also constrained labour supply.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon