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Mobility of Heavy Metals from Soil into Hot Pepper Fruits: A Field Study


Capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin contribute to pungency as well as having health-promoting properties, in peppers. Twenty-three genotypes (four spp.) of hot pepper from the USDA germplasm collection were grown in the field to identify accessions having increased concentrations of these two compounds and determine the concentrations of heavy metals, in mature fruits. Concentrations and relative proportions of capsaicin, dihydrocapsaicin, and seven heavy metals varied between and within pepper species. Plant Introduction 547069 (C. annuum) contained the greatest concentrations of the two pungent compounds. Fruits of PI-439381 and PI-267729 (C. baccatum) accumulated the greatest concentrations of Pb, while PI-246331 (C. annuum) accumulated the greatest concentration of Cd among accessions tested.

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We thank John Snyder for his assistance in ICP analysis and Robert Jarret for providing hot pepper seeds. This investigation was supported by a grant from USDA/CSREES to Kentucky State University under agreement No. KYX-2004-15102.

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Correspondence to G. F. Antonious.

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Antonious, G.F., Kochhar, T.S. Mobility of Heavy Metals from Soil into Hot Pepper Fruits: A Field Study. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 82, 59–63 (2009).

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  • Capsicum spp
  • Capsaicin
  • Dihydrocapsaicin
  • Lead
  • Cadmium