Color is an essential agronomic trait and the consumption of high anthocyanin containing vegetables in daily diet does provide benefits to human health, but the mechanisms on anthocyanin accumulation in tender pods of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L.) were totally unknown. In this study, a wide characterization and quantitation of anthocyanins and flavonols in tender pods of 15 okra varieties were performed by UHPLC-Q-Orbitrap HRMS for the first time. Two major anthocyanins (delphinidin 3-O-sambubioside and cyanidin 3-O-sambubioside) and six kinds of flavonol glycosides (most are quercetin-based) were identified and quantified. The coloration of the purple okra pod mainly arises from the accumulation of both delphinidin 3-O-sambubioside and cyanidin 3-O-sambubioside in most of purple varieties (Hong Yu, Bowling Red and Burgundy), except Jing Orange. The significant differences in the compositions and contents of anthocyanins are responsible for the pod color ranging from brick-red...

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