Two years ago, I grew a variety of OP orange carrots from various sources, and a couple of red carrot varieties from Baker Creek. I made selections, and replanted in the fall. Long story short, the reds didn't make it through the winter. I did fill the gaps with other orange types that over wintered. Seed has been cleaned now. ( Carrot seed is a pain in the posterior btw)
I've seen other reds in other catalogs but I'm now wondering if I can "darken" the orange ones with the reds. I know the colors come from various compounds, but am kind of wondering if both compounds can express at the same time.
Post by philagardener on Feb 2, 2019 18:58:50 GMT -5
The red (lycopene) and orange (carotene) pigments are on the same biochemical pathway and the color of the root is determined by the kind and amount of colored compounds that accumulate. Since lycopene is normally converted to carotene in orange carrots, hue is more like a balance than an additive effect, although overall amounts will contribute to intensity.
The recent sequencing of the carrot genome offers some interesting insights (the open access article is here) including how regulation of enzymes in different cultivars contributes to color development (although they did not include red in their analysis, they do consider yellow, and pale and dark orange varieties in Fig 5).
Purple/black carrots are strongly pigmented by anthocyanins and that is a different pathway, so in that case it should be possible for overall intensity (and nutrient value) to be additive.