• organic acids;
  • pungency;
  • maturity index;
  • sugars;
  • soluble peroxidase activity;
  • alkaloids;
  • multivariate analysis


BACKGROUND: Skin color, acid content and changes in other chemical components have been developed as indicators of maturation in fruits of the Capsicum type.

RESULTS: Fruit growth and ripening in four hot pepper accessions (CS) from C. frutescens (CS376) and from C. annuum (CS219, CS049 and CS032) were monitored in three commercial Colombian Amazonic orchards. The time between fruit setting and commercial pepper fruit maturity was 41 ± 5 days for CS219, while CS032, CS049 and CS376 required 47 ± 3 days. Three stages of development were identified. The first stage was cell division in the accessions and a transient peak in respiration rate in CS049. A second stage of fruit growth occurred due to maximum cell expansion and some transient peaks of respiration rate also took place. Finally, a plateau occurred as fruit reached full maturity and followed typical non-climacteric behavior. CS032 and CS219 were pungent with increasing levels of alkaloids (capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin) during fruit growth, although CS376 with its constant and higher levels of the former capsaicinoids early in fruit growth was not pungent, and neither was CS049. Morphological traits and fresh and dry weight together with color coordinates could be used to discriminate among accessions as revealed by two axes of the canonical discriminant analysis (99.9% total variance explained).

CONCLUSIONS: In general, the time from fruit set and the apex skin color changes and accompanying morphological traits, were reasonable indicators of maturity in Amazonian hot pepper fruits. Multivariate analysis was able to discriminate among accessions. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry