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Journal of Food Quality
Volume 2018, Article ID 4270279, 9 pages
Research Article

Flavonoid Productivity Optimized for Green and Red Forms of Perilla frutescens via Environmental Control Technologies in Plant Factory

1Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, Kashiwa-no-ha 6-2-1, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0882, Japan
2Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan

Correspondence should be addressed to Natsuko Kagawa; pj.u-abihc.ytlucaf@okustank

Received 21 June 2018; Revised 9 November 2018; Accepted 27 November 2018; Published 20 December 2018

Academic Editor: Encarna Aguayo

Copyright © 2018 Na Lu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Perilla frutescens (Lamiaceae) is a dietary staple in Asia. It is an abundant source of flavonoids that are bioactively beneficial to human health and fitness. The current popularity of plant-based consumption is being driven by the healthful benefits of bioactive nutrition, and the concentration of bioactive agents found in raw plant materials is an important factor in the assessment of food quality. To test the feasibility of promoting flavonoid productivity in perilla plants via environmental treatment, plant factory technology was applied to perilla plant cultivation. Apigenin (AG) and luteolin (LT) are two of the most potent anticarcinogenic flavonoids in perilla, and these are also found in many vegetables and fruits. Quantitative analysis of AG and LT was conducted on plants cultivated under nine environmental forms of treatment imposed by three levels of light intensity (100, 200, and 300 µmol·m−2·s−1) combined with three levels of nutrient-solution concentration (1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 dS·m−1) for hydroculture. The contents of AG in green and red perilla plant were increased by high nutrient-solution levels under the same light intensity. In green perilla, the highest concentration of AG (8.50 µg·g−1) was obtained under treatment of the highest level of nutrient-solution (3.0 dS·m−1) and 200 µmol·m−2·s−1 of light intensity, whereas in red perilla, the highest concentration of AG (6.38 µg·g−1) was achieved from the highest levels of both of these forms of treatment (300 µmol·m−2·s−1 and 3.0 dS·m−1). The increase in AG content per plant between the lowest and the highest levels was recorded by 6.4-fold and 8.6-fold in green and red perilla, respectively. The behavior of LT concentration differed between green and red forms of perilla. LT concentration in red perilla was enhanced under nutrient deficiency (1.0 dS·m−1) and affected by light intensity. Different responses were observed in the accumulations of AG and LT in red and green perilla during treatments, and this phenomenon was discussed in terms of biosynthetic pathways that involve the expressions of phenylpropanoids and anthocyanins. The total yield of flavonoids (AG and LT) was improved with the optimization of those forms of treatment, with the best total yields: 33.9 mg·plant−1 in green Perilla; 10.0 mg·plant−1 in red perilla, and a 4.9-fold and a 5.4-fold increase was recorded in green and red perilla, respectively. This study revealed that flavone biosynthesis and accumulation in perilla plants could be optimized via environmental control technologies, and this approach could be applicable to leafy vegetables with bioactive nutrition to produce a stable industrial supply of high flavonoid content.