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Carotenoid Composition and Vitamin A Value in Ají (Capsicum baccatum L.) and Rocoto (C. pubescens R. & P.), 2 Pepper Species from the Andean Region

Rodríguez-Burruezo, Adrián, González-Mas, Maria del Carmen, Nuez, Fernando
Journal of food science 2010 v.75 no.8 pp. S446
interspecific variation, hot peppers, nutrient content, quantitative analysis, violaxanthin, antheraxanthin, high performance liquid chromatography, capsanthin, lutein, food composition, color, mass spectrometry, Capsicum pubescens, vitamin A, antioxidants, Capsicum baccatum
The carotenoid patterns of fully ripe fruits from 12 Bolivian accessions of the Andean peppers Capsicum baccatum (ají) and C. pubescens (rocoto) were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-photodiode array detector (PDA)-mass spectrometry (MS). We include 2 California Wonder cultivars as C. annuum controls. A total of 16 carotenoids were identified and differences among species were mostly found at the quantitative level. Among red-fruited genotypes, capsanthin was the main carotenoid in the 3 species (25% to 50% contribution to carotenoid fraction), although ajíes contained the lowest contribution of this carotenoid. In addition, the contribution of capsanthin 5,6-epoxide to total carotenoids in this species was high (11% to 27%) in comparison to rocotos and red C. annuum. Antheraxanthin and violaxanthin were, in general, the next most relevant carotenoids in the red Andean peppers (6.1% to 10.6%). Violaxanthin was the major carotenoid in yellow-/orange-fruited genotypes of the 3 species (37% to 68% total carotenoids), although yellow rocotos were characterized by lower levels (<45%). Cis-violaxanthin, antheraxanthin, and lutein were the next most relevant carotenoids in the yellow/orange Andean peppers (5% to 14%). As a whole, rocotos showed the highest contributions of provitamin A carotenoids to the carotenoid fraction. In terms of nutritional contribution, both ajíes and rocotos provide a remarkable provitamin A activity, with several accessions showing a content in retinol equivalents higher than California Wonder controls. Furthermore, levels of lutein in yellow/orange ajíes and rocotos were clearly higher than California Wonder pepper (≥1000 μg·100/g). Finally, the Andean peppers, particularly red ajíes, can be also considered as a noticeable source of capsanthin, the most powerful antioxidant compound among pepper carotenoids. Capsicum peppers are known for their content in carotenoids, although there is no information about 2 species with Andean origin: ajíes and rocotos. Due to their relevance for the Andean cuisine and increasing importance in ethnic restaurants in Europe, we studied their carotenoid pattern and vitamin A contribution.