Submitted to: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/16/2001
Publication Date: 4/24/2002
Citation: RUSSO, V.M., HOWARD, L. CAROTENOIDS IN PUNGENT AND NON-PUNGENT PEPPERS AT VARIOUS DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES GROWN IN THE FIELD AND GLASSHOUSE. JOURNAL OF THE SCIENCE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE. 2002. v. 82. p. 615-624. Interpretive Summary: Conditions environmental conditions occurring during the growing season. can influence physiological activity in plants, as well as the nutrient content of edible portions of plants. Carotenoids which are produced by plants are in part responsible for colors in various tissues and can provide health benefits to humans. Growing conditions in a greenhouse are very different from the field. These two locations were tested to determine how they affected carotenoid concentration in pungent peppers (Anaheim, Ancho, Cayenne, Pimento, Red Cherry) and five examples of non- pungent bell pepper. Levels of carotenoids in pepper fruit sampled at different stages of maturity differed for pepper type, and whether they were grown in a greenhouse or the field. Levels of most carotenoids were significantly higher in greenhouse grown plants, and most were higher in fruit at the red stage. Fruit of the Ancho type had the most beta- cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and total carotenoids, fruit of the Red Cherry type had the most capsanthin and zeaxanthin, and fruit of one of the bell pepper cultivars ('Bell Captain') had the most lutein. The more consistent, and protected, conditions in the greenhouse appeared to cause higher levels of carotenoids in mature pepper fruit.
Technical Abstract: Carotenoids in edible portions of plants can provide health benefits to humans. How growing conditions affect levels of carotenoids in pepper fruit as they mature is not well known. Five cvs. of bell pepper (Bell Captain, Melody, North Star, Ranger, Red Beauty), and five cvs. of pungent type peppers (Anaheim, Ancho, Cayenne, Pimento, Red Cherry) were grown in a agreenhouse and in the field. Fruit were harvested at the green, turning (50% green), and mature red stages, and analyzed for levels of the carotenoids beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, capsanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and total carotenoids. Levels of Provitamin A: Retinol Equivalents (RE) were derived from levels of beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha- carotene, and beta-carotene. Levels of most carotenoids, and RE, were significantly higher in greenhouse grown plants, and most were higher in fruit at the red stage. Fruit of the Ancho type had the most beta- cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, total carotenoids and RE, while fruit of the Red Cherry type had the most capsanthin and zeaxanthin, and fruit of 'Bell Captain' had the most lutein. Interactions of the main effects variables, i. e. location of production (field vs greenhouse), stage of development, and cultivar indicated differences in patterns of carotenoid levels and RE. The data indicated that growing conditions influenced carotenoid levels. The more consistent, and protected, conditions in the greenhouse appeared to cause higher levels of carotenoids in red peppers, but not in green or turning peppers.