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Phytochemistry

Metabolite biodiversity in pepper (Capsicum) fruits of thirty-two diverse accessions: variation in health-related compounds and implications for breeding.


PMID 21514607

Abstract

A comprehensive study on morphology and biochemical compounds of 32 Capsicum spp. accessions has been performed. Accessions represented four pepper species, Capsicum annuum, Capsicum frutescens, Capsicum chinense and Capsicum baccatum which were selected by their variation in morphological characters such as fruit color, pungency and origin. Major metabolites in fruits of pepper, carotenoids, capsaicinoids (pungency), flavonoid glycosides, and vitamins C and E were analyzed and quantified by high performance liquid chromatography. The results showed that composition and level of metabolites in fruits varied greatly between accessions and was independent of species and geographical location. Fruit color was determined by the accumulation of specific carotenoids leading to salmon, yellow, orange, red and brown colored fruits. Levels of both O- and C-glycosides of quercetin, luteolin and apigenin varied strongly between accessions. All non-pungent accessions were devoid of capsaicins, whereas capsaicinoid levels ranged from 0.07 up to 80 mg/100g fr. wt. in fruit pericarp. In general, pungent accessions accumulated the highest capsaicinoid levels in placenta plus seed tissue compared to pericarp. The non-pungent capsaicinoid analogs, capsiates, could be detected at low levels in some pungent accessions. All accessions accumulated high levels of vitamin C, up to 200 mg/100g fr. wt. The highest vitamin E concentration found was 16 mg/100g fr. wt. Based on these metabolic data, five accessions were selected for further metabolic and molecular analysis, in order to isolate key genes involved in the production of these compounds and to assist future breeding programs aimed at optimizing the levels of health-related compounds in pepper fruit.

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