Structural colour from helicoidal cell-wall architecture in fruits of Margaritaria nobilis

J R Soc Interface. 2016 Nov;13(124):20160645. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2016.0645.


The bright and intense blue-green coloration of the fruits of Margaritaria nobilis (Phyllanthaceae) was investigated using polarization-resolved spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Optical measurements of freshly collected fruits revealed a strong circularly polarized reflection of the fruit that originates from a cellulose helicoidal cell wall structure in the pericarp cells. Hyperspectral microscopy was used to capture the iridescent effect at the single-cell level.

Keywords: cellulose; circular dichroism; helicoidal cell wall; iridescence; natural photonics; structural colour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fruit / cytology*
  • Magnoliopsida / cytology*