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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Griffin, Georgia » Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #229092

Title: Pungency in Capsicum Chinense: Variation Among Countries of Origin.

item Jarret, Robert - Bob

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Science and Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/3/2008
Publication Date: 2/1/2009
Citation: Antonious, G., Berke, T., Jarret, R.L. Pungency in Capsicum Chinense: Variation Among Countries of Origin. 2009 Journal of Environmental Science and Health. 44(B)(2): 179-184.

Interpretive Summary: Capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin (and their derivitives) are the chemical compounds that give "hot" peppers their heat. The fruit of one species of pepper - Capsicum chinense - are known to be especially hot. The fruit of this species are sometimes referred to as habaneros. We examined the concentrations of capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin in fruit of 63 countries. Our results indicated that concentrations of capsaicin were generally, but not always, higher than concentrations of dihydrocapsaicin. The line designated as P1640900 from the USA had the highest concentrations of both capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin. Fruit of the line designated as PI 438648 from Mexico had the highest concentration of all the combined forms.

Technical Abstract: Fruits of 63 accessions of Capsicum chinense Jacq. from the USDA/ARS Capsicum germplasm collection were analyzed for two major capsaicinoids, capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin, content using gas chromatography with nitrogen phosphorus detectin (GC/NPD). The objectives of the present investigation were: 1) to quantify the major capsaicinoids (capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin) in fruits of Capsicum chinense accessions and, 2) to identify accessions containing great concentrations of capsaicinoids among countries of hot pepper origin. Seeds of C. chinense accessions received from Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and United States were field grown in a silty-loam soil. Mature fruits were analyzed for major capsaicinoids content. Capsaicin concentrations were generally greater than dihydrocapsaicin. Fruits of C. chinense accession PI640900 (USA) contained the greatest concentration of capsaicin (1.52 mg/g fruit) and dihydrocapsaicin (1.16 mg/g fruit), while total major capsaicinoids in the fruits of PI438648 (Mexico) averaged 2 mg/g fruit. These two accessions were identified as potential candidates for mass production of major capsaicinoids that have health promoting properties and for use as a source of pest control agents in the agricultural fields.