Submitted to: National Pepper Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 8, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Although most peppers cultivated in the United States belong to the species Capsicum annuum, the increasing popularity of hot peppers has created an intense interest in two cultivar classes of another domesticated Capsicum species, C. chinense. These cultivar classes, Habanero and Scotch Bonnet, contain some of the world's most pungent peppers. Since the root-knot nematode is a major pest of pepper in the United States, a serie of experiments was conducted to determine whether Scotch Bonnet and Habanero peppers are also vulnerable to the pest. Scotch Bonnet and Habanero peppers were collected from all available private and commercial sources, and each accession was tested for resistance to the southern root-knot nematode. All Habanero accessions and all accessions collected from commercial seed sources were susceptible. However, several Scotch Bonnet accessions obtained from private "heirloom" seed collectors were resistant. Detailed field evaluations of the resistant Scotch Bonnet accessions indicated that they are potentially useful by both home gardeners and commercial farmers without any further development. Additionally, these Scotch Bonnet accessions should be excellent sources of resistance for breeding root-knot nematode resistant Habanero pappers.
Technical Abstract: Scotch Bonnet and Habanero peppers, members of a very pungent pepper species not commonly grown in the U. S. (Capsicum chinense), are becoming increasingly popular in the American diet. Because the southern root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) is a major pest of the pepper species commonly grown in the U. S. (C. annuum), a series of greenhouse and field experiments was conducted to determine if Scotch Bonnet and Habanero peppers are also vulnerable to the pest. An effort was made to collect Scotch Bonnet and Habanero peppers from all available commercial and private sources. In an initial greenhouse test, a collection of 59 C. chinense accessions was evaluated for reaction to M. incognita race 3. All accessions obtained from commercial sources were moderately susceptible or susceptible. However, four accessions obtained through Seed Savers Exchange listings exhibited high levels of resistance. Three of these accessions (PA-353, PA-398, and PA-426) were studied in subsequent greenhouse and field plantings, and each was confirmed to have a level of resistance similar to the levels of resistance available in C. annuum. All three of the resistant accessions are well-adapted, Scotch Bonnet type peppers, and each is potentially useful in commercial production without further development.