Strawberry is rich in anthocyanins, which are responsible for the red color, and contains several colorless phenolic compounds. Among the colorless phenolic compounds, some, such as hydroxycinammic acid derivatives, emit blue-green fluorescence when excited with ultraviolet (UV) light. Here, we investigated the effectiveness of image analyses for estimating the levels of anthocyanins and UV-excited fluorescent phenolic compounds in fruit. The fruit skin and cut surface of 12 cultivars were photographed under visible and UV light conditions; colors were evaluated based on the color components of images. The levels of anthocyanins and UV-excited fluorescent compounds in each fruit were also evaluated by spectrophotometric and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analyses, respectively and relationships between these levels and the image data were investigated. Red depth of the fruits differed greatly among the cultivars and anthocyanin content was well estimated based on the color values of the cut surface images. Strong UV-excited fluorescence was observed on the cut surfaces of several cultivars, and the grayscale values of the UV-excited fluorescence images were markedly correlated with the levels of those fluorescent compounds as evaluated by HPLC analysis. These results indicate that image analyses can select promising genotypes rich in anthocyanins and fluorescent phenolic compounds.
Keywords: anthocyanins; fluorescence; image analysis; strawberry; ultraviolet.