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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Griffin, Georgia » Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #205427

Title: Antioxidants in Hot Pepper: Variation Among Accessions

item Jarret, Robert - Bob

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Science and Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/12/2006
Publication Date: 10/1/2006
Citation: Antonious, G., Kochhar, T.S., Jarret, R.L., Snyder, J.C. 2006. Antioxidants in Hot Pepper: Variation Among Accessions. Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part B. 41:1237-1243.

Interpretive Summary: The USDA/ARS maintains a collection of pepper (Capsicum sp.) germplasm in Griffin, GA. Relatively little is known about the nutritional attributes of these plant materials. This study determined the Vitamin C content, pungency, free sugars, and total phenols in fruit of 17 lines of Capsicum (4 C. chinense, 5 C. baccatum, 6 C. annuum and 2 C. frutescens). The results indicated that levels of compounds tended to be higher in C. chinense, and C. baccatum, as compared to C. annum and C. frutescens. Higher levels of phenols were usually associated with higher levels of Vitamin C and free sugars. Concentrations of phenols were highest in Plant Introduction (PI) numbers 633757, 387833, and 633754. Pungency was highest in PI 438622 and lowest in Grif-9320. The results from this study suggest that great variability for the concentrations of these compounds exists among the accessions of the USDA/ ARS Capsicum germplasm collection and that this variability could serve as the basis for improvement of the pepper crop.

Technical Abstract: The USDA/ARS pepper (Capsicum spp.) germplasm collection contains several thousand accessions. Many of these have not been previously analyzed for their concentrations of ascorbic acid, capsaicin, and total phenolic compounds, which are important antioxidants and have a number of nutritional or health benefits. Seventeen accessions of pepper from the core Capsicum germplasm collection (four accessions of Capsicum chinense; five accessions of C. baccatum; six accessions of C. annuum; and two of C. frutescens) were field grown and their mature fruits were analyzed for ascorbic acid, capsaicin, free sugars, and total phenols. Concentrations of these compounds tended to be higher in C. chinense and C. baccatum, than in C. annuum and C. frutescens. The concentration of total phenols was correlated with ascorbic acid (r=0.97) and free sugars (r=0.80). Concentrations of total phenols (1.4, 1.3, and 1.3 mg g -1 fruit) and ascorbic acid (1.6, 1.2 and 1.3 mg g -1 fruit) were significantly greater in Plant Introduction (PI) numbers 633757, 387833, and 633754, respectively, when compared to those of other accessions analyzed. The total capsaicinoid concentration was highest (1.3 mg g- 1 fruit) in PI438622 and lowest (0.002 mg g- 1 fruit) in Grif-9320. The great variability within and among Capsicum species and accessions for these phytochemicals suggests that these and other accessions may be useful as parents in hybridization programs to produce fruits with value-added traits.