The composition of carotenoids, along with anthocyanins and chlorophyll, accounts for the distinctive range of colour found in the Actinidia (kiwifruit) species. Lutein and beta-carotene are the most abundant carotenoids found during fruit development, with beta-carotene concentration increasing rapidly during fruit maturation and ripening. In addition, the accumulation of beta-carotene and lutein is influenced by the temperature at which harvested fruit are stored. Expression analysis of carotenoid biosynthetic genes among different genotypes and fruit developmental stages identified Actinidia lycopene beta-cyclase ( LCY-β) as the gene whose expression pattern appeared to be associated with both total carotenoid and beta-carotene accumulation. Phytoene desaturase ( PDS) expression was the least variable among the different genotypes, while zeta carotene desaturase ( ZDS), beta-carotene hydroxylase ( CRH-β), and epsilon carotene hydroxylase ( CRH-ϵ) showed some variation in gene expression. The LCY-β gene was functionally tested in bacteria and shown to convert lycopene and delta-carotene to beta-carotene and alpha-carotene respectively. This indicates that the accumulation of beta-carotene, the major carotenoid in these kiwifruit species, appears to be controlled by the level of expression of LCY-β gene.