Enrichment of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases the capsaicinoids content in Habanero peppers (Capsicum chinense Jacq.)
Correspondence to: Roger Orellana, Unidad de Recursos Naturales, Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, Calle 43 No. 130, Chuburná 97205, Mérida Yucatán, Mexico. E-mail: email@example.com
The effects of the increase of atmospheric CO2 on agricultural productivity have been mainly analyzed through its impact on biomass yield, and little attention has been directed to quality traits, such as nutritional or organoleptic attributes. For this study, plants of hot Habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense Jacq.) were grown in growth chambers under three different CO2 levels: 380 (normal atmospheric value), 760 and 1140 µmol mol−1, and their effects on pod yield, size, color and pungency, were monitored.
The total number of pods per plant increased by 88.5% at the highest CO2, in comparison to plants grown at normal CO2 conditions. Pod size and yield per plant also increased when plants were grown at the highest CO2 concentration (partial pressure). Furthermore, total capsaicinoids contents in ripe peppers under a high CO2 atmosphere were 27% higher than those from plants under lower concentrations, but it was not the case for immature pods.
These data suggest that the increase of atmospheric CO2 could modify specific routes of secondary metabolism as well as others desirable traits, thus affecting the quality of Capsicum pepper products. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry