Bioactive compounds in pepper are associated with several health benefits. While consumers are looking for foods more nutritionally and functionally rich, growers want high-yielding cultivars with improved stress tolerance. Breeders must take both requirements into consideration when developing cultivars. Germplasm collections are essential to preserve genetic diversity and support breeding efforts; however, they must be properly characterized to be useful to breeders.
In an article recently published in Crop Science, researchers report the chemical characterization of pepper accessions from a Brazilian germplasm collection. Seventy-two accessions of Capsicum annuum, C. baccatum, C. chinense, and C. frutescens were evaluated. High variability in soluble solids, pH, acidity, fruit color, antioxidant potential, and phenolic, carotenoid, and capsaicinoid contents was observed in accessions evaluated. No one accession contained high levels of multiple bioactive compounds.
The optimized extraction protocol for capsaicinoid analysis was quick and simple, and the quantification method by high-performance liquid chromatography-fluorescence detector (HPLC-FLD) showed low detection and quantitation limits and high reproducibility. Analysis using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTOF-MS) allowed for unequivocal confirmation of quantified capsaicinoids and identification of minor capsaicinoids.
Results identified superior accessions in the Embrapa Temperate Agriculture Capsicum germplasm collection for use in breeding efforts guided not only by agronomic characteristics but also by fruit bioactive composition.
Adapted from Acunha, T.S., R.L. Crizel, I.B. Tavares, R.L. Barbieri, C.M.P. Pereira, C.V. Rombaldi, and F.C. Chaves. 2017. Bioactive compound variability in a Brazilian Capsicum pepper collection. Crop Sci. 57. View the full article online at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.2135/cropsci2016.08.0701