IPB University Lecturer Introduces Plant Color Efficacy for Human Health

We know a lot of plants or plants which have various colors in their parts, starting from the roots, stems, leaves, fruit, fruit skin, fruit flesh, and seeds. The question arises what are the uses of these colors for plants themselves, humans and the environment as a whole?

IPB University lecturer from the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, Prof. Sandra Arifin Aziz said that the colors turned out to have many uses. The color is an attractiveness for pollinators or insects that will pollinate the flowers, for deteren / avoidance or defense against natural enemies / herbivores in the form of insects or vertebrates, fungi and bacteria, viruses, other plants in competition for light, water and nutrients. In addition, the color in plants is also a signal of plant communication with symbiotic microorganisms, protection against ultraviolet light or other physical stress. And as raw materials for medicine, poisons, flavor, industry, biological pesticides for human needs.

"Color in plants is also used in the process of photosynthesis such as anthocyanins and carotenoids. In conditions of stressed plants, the colors in the form of anthocyanins and carotenoids will increase in the leaves or certain plant parts. Therefore, we often find plants that are stressed, for example due to drought will turn redder. Chlorophyll which may be disrupted due to stress activity will be assisted by these pigments. "These pigments are not directly involved in the photosynthesis reaction but transfer their energy to chlorophyll A, so photosynthesis can be carried out even under stressful conditions," he explained.

According to him the color in plants is actually the result of plant metabolism or metabolites which is a certain chemical that is produced in certain places at certain growth phases, stored in certain places in plants and has certain functions. "These colors turned out to have benefits for us humans. One of them is as a raw material for medicine. Anthocyanins are secondary metabolites of pink, red, blue, purple to blackish purple, in fact some say black. Anthocyanins can change color according to acidity or soil pH or liquid solvents. An example is the flower bowl (Hydrangea macrophylla) and flower seeds (Clitoria ternatea), "he said.

The results of the study showed that flower bowl has anti-allergic and anti-microbial properties, besides it has liver-hepatoprotective activity. The leaf extract is a new chemical compound for anti-malaria and anti-diabetes. Meanwhile the efficacy of the flowers is to improve memory, overcome anxiety disorders, relieve depression, contain antioxidants.

"In general, red anthocyanins are efficacious for improving blood circulation, thus helping the heart work. For anthocyanins that are blue, the results of the study show assistance for the stability of the brain and kidney work. Other colors that we know as pigments in plants are bright red, yellow and orange or orange from carotenoid pigments. This orange color is especially found in skin and fruit flesh, aging leaves, corn, pumpkin, tomatoes, tubers such as carrots and sweet potatoes, flamingos, canaries, salmon, lobsters and shrimp. Carotenoids have antioxidant properties and can reduce the development of cancer, enhance the body's immune system, "he added.

Carotenoid provitamin A can be converted into vitamin A which is important for growth, immune function, and eye health. The human body converts beta carotene, which is a precursor of vitamin A, into vitamin A (retinol). Humans need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucous membranes.

"Color in plants, in addition to beautifying the environment is also important for our health. Hopefully we can consume more colored plants for our health, "he said. (IAAS / NAS)

Published Date : 22-May-2020

Resource Person : Prof Sandra Arifin Aziz

Keyword : IPB lecturer, plant color, anthocyanin, plant properties for humans