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Analysis of triacylglycerides, carotenoids and capsaicinoids as disposable molecules from Capsicum agroindustry


Capsicum is currently one of the highest value vegetable crops due its richness in vitamins and antioxidants and is frequently commercialized as fresh fruit, dry crushed pepper, paprika oleoresin or pepper paste. The chemical content comprises carotenoids, flavonoids, lipid molecules like fatty acids, triacylglycerides and capsaicinoids as its principal chemotaxonomic markers. However, triacylglycerides and carotenoids are no frequently taken into analytical spectrometric methods due to nonvolatile and extreme low polarity properties. Those molecules are usually extracted and commercialized as oleoresin, and there are gaining attention because it helps to combat nutrient deficiencies. This study monitors the behavior of the pungency value in two real industrial productive crops of Capsicum frutescens (tabasco) and Capsicum annuum (cayenne) during a complete harvest period. A comparison of chemical carotenoid and triacylglycerides profile was carried out by UPLC–PDA–ESI–MS between Capsicum frutescens (tabasco), Capsicum chinense (habanero), Capsicum annuum (jalapeño), and Capsicum annuum (serrano) in two different ripening stages. The authors’ main finding is a strong correlation between plant age and pungency level independent of the size and dehydration state of the fruits. The major carotenoid content was founded in red Tabasco variety, and 12 triacylglycerides and 10 esterified carotenoids are reported along the all fruits treated. Our results present an important and alternative finding for agro-industrial chili pepper producers and marketers who need to better understand the behavior of the pungency value as the principal quality feature, and to discover added-value chemicals like TAG and carotenoids in their products.

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The authors want to acknowledge the company HUGO RESTREPO and CIA for all their dedication during the experiment and their help with the pepper crops as well as the agronomical engineers for their support (Grant Numbers CA041349 and Colciencias 043-2017). We also want to thank senior pharmacy student Fabian Botero, who contributed to the project but sadly passed away before its completion.

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Correspondence to Guillermo Montoya.

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Penagos-Calvete, D., Guauque-Medina, J., Villegas-Torres, M.F. et al. Analysis of triacylglycerides, carotenoids and capsaicinoids as disposable molecules from Capsicum agroindustry. Hortic. Environ. Biotechnol. 60, 227–238 (2019).

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  • Capsicum annuum
  • Capsicum frutescens
  • Capsicum chinense
  • Capsicum crop
  • Pungency variation
  • Carotenoids
  • Triacylglycerides