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Horticultura Brasileira

Print version ISSN 0102-0536

Hortic. Bras. vol.29 no.3 Brasília July/Sept. 2011 



Morphological and chemical characterization of fruits of Capsicum spp. accessions


Caracterização morfológica e química de frutos de acessos do gênero Capsicum spp



Elizanilda R do Rêgo; Mailson M do Rêgo; Izadora Wally F de Matos; Lidiany Aparecida Barbosa

UFPB-CCA, C. Postal 02, 58397-000 Areia-PB;;;;




This study aimed to evaluate 69 Capsicum accessions from the Germplasm Bank of Universidade Federal de Roraima, for some fruit quality traits. The experiment was performed in a completely random design, with 69 treatments and 3 replications. The 69 accessions were evaluated for fourteen quantitative and two qualitative traits of ripe fruits. Quantitative fruits data were subjected to an analysis of variance, and the means were grouped by Scott-Knott test (p<0.01). All characteristics had significant effect of treatments (p<0.01) for all evaluated traits. The data showed high genetic variability to future use in a Capsicum breeding program. The accessions 33, 44 and 41 showed major values for dry matter content and total soluble solids; these should be used to improve these traits in a paprika breeding program. On the other hand, the accession 48 showed major values for fresh weight, major fruit length and fruit width. The accession 33, belonging to the Capsicum frutescens species, with high vitamin C content should be used in a fresh market Capsicum breeding program.

Keywords: pepper, chili, breeding, germplasm, Amazonian, fruit quality.


O objetivo deste trabalho foi caracterizar 69 acessos do gênero Capsicum, pertencentes ao Banco de Germoplasma de Hortaliças da Universidade Federal de Roraima, quanto a 16 descritores relacionados à qualidade de frutos. O experimento foi conduzido em campo, no delineamento experimental inteiramente casualizado, com três repetições e 10 plantas por parcela. Quatorze descritores quantitativos e dois qualitativos foram utilizados na caracterização e para obtenção de caracteres morfológicos de qualidade. Obteve-se a média de dez frutos por repetição, aleatoriamente dentro de cada acesso, quando os frutos atingiram a maturidade. Os dados quantitativos foram submetidos à análise de variância, com posterior agrupamento das médias pelo teste Scott-Knott. Houve diferença significativa (p<0,01) entre os 69 acessos tanto para caracteres morfológicos quanto químicos dos frutos, podendo essa diversidade ser utilizada em programa de melhoramento de Capsicum. Se o programa de melhoramento visar à obtenção de maior rendimento de pó, indica-se o uso dos acessos 33, 44 e 41, cujos valores de teor de matéria seca e sólidos solúveis totais foram mais elevados. Entretanto, se o objetivo for o comércio de frutos in natura, recomenda-se o acesso 48 que apresentou maiores valores de matéria fresca, comprimento e diâmetro do fruto. O acesso 33, Capsicum frutescens, apresentou o maior teor de vitamina C.

Palavras-chave: pimentão, pimenta, melhoramento, germoplasma, Amazônia, qualidade de frutos.



The genus Capsicum is a member of the Solanaceae family and consists of five domesticated species: C. annuum, C. baccatum, C. chinense, C. frutescens and C. pubescens. The species C. pubescens is the only one who is not grown in Brazil (Casali & Couto, 1984). The genus has, approximately, 33 species, considering the domesticated, semi-domesticated and wild ones. It is important to mention that new species have been described as they have been obtained in collecting expeditions (Pickersgill, 1971; Bosland, 1993, Oyama et al., 2006).

Capsicum has been cultivated and commercialized in the tropical region of Latin America (Nuez et al., 1996). The genus is used as spice, giving taste and flavor to a variety of dishes in several typical cuisines around the world, due to some important traits of this plant like appearance, texture, color, flavor, vitamin content and pungency (Moore, 1970). Because of different ecological, cultural and technological conditions these species were subjected many changes could be noticed, leading to a generalization that the variability is higher in the part of the plant which is economically important (Pickersgill, 1971; Oyama et al., 2006).

In Brazil, the cultivation and commercialization of chili and peppers have been increasing in the latest years. However, reliable statistics data on Caspicum production are rare, according to Ribeiro et al. (2008). According to these authors, 348 million tons of chili and peppers were produced in 12 thousand ha, of them, 5 thousand ha were cultivated with sweet and hot pepper, with annual production of 75 million tons, being the main producers the States of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul (Panorama Rural, 2006; Ribeiro et al., 2008).

In the Amazon, the cultivation of chili is one important source of income for the local agricultural population (indians and non-indians) due to the fact that this region is an important center of domesticated species of Capsicum (Costa et al., 2009). The four species of Capsicum cultivated in Brazil are also grown in Roraima where the cultivation and commercialization of chili and peppers have been increasing a lot. The morphotypes like "malagueta" (C. frutescens), "murupi" (C. chinense) and "olho de peixe" (C. chinense) are the most commercialized in indian and non-indian communities (Barbosa et al., 2002), as well as in the northeast and southeast regions of Brazil (Lannes et al., 2007).

The growing domestic demand, about R$ 80 million a year, has increased the yield of the cultivated area and the establishment of agro-industries, becoming the agrobusiness of Capsicum one of the most important in Brazil (Ribeiro et al., 2003; Panorama Rural, 2006).

It is important to point out that wide knowledge on production and commercialization is necessary to enhance the progress in breeding programs of cultivated and wild species (Buso et al., 2003; Rêgo et al., 2010). Several authors have highlighted the importance of studies on the characterization of Capsium germplasm, as well as its diversity, in order to make them available to researchers (Geleta et al., 2005; Sudré et al., 2005; Oyama et al., 2006; Bento et al., 2007; Fonseca et al., 2008; Rêgo et al., 2009; Thul et al., 2009; Rêgo et al., 2010). In this context, it is necessary to carry out studies aiming the understanding of the local culture, the increase of production, disease resistance and tolerance to adverse environments, among other biotic and abiotic factors that can affect the yield (Oliveira et al., 2003).

The Universidade Federal de Roraima has one Germplasm Bank where a number of Capsicum accessions are stored. The characterization of those accessions is necessary in order to provide better utilization of these genetic resources in breeding programs. Also to avoid duplicated accessions in the Germplasm banks, appropriate studies are necessary. This point is the one which takes a higher consumption of time and resources available for the researchers (Carvalho et al., 1999).

This work aimed to evaluate 69 Capsicum accessions from the Germplasm Bank of the Universidade Federal de Roraima (UFRR), for some fruit quality traits, for future breeding program.



In 2002, seeds of 69 accessions of Capsicum genus (Table 1), obtained from the Germplasm Bank of the Universidade Federal de Roraima (UFRR), were sown on expanded polystyrene trays with 128 cells. The transplanting of the seedlings to the experimental field in Cauamé Campus, of the UFRR, located in Boa Vista, Roraima State, was done, in March, at 60 days after sown. The evaluations were carried out from May to December, 2002, when all the plants showed ripe fruits.

The experiment was carried out in a randomized block design, with 69 treatments, three replications and 10 plants per plot, with a total of 30 plants per accession, spaced 1.0 x 1.0 m among rows and plants. The cultural management was carried out according to Filgueira (2000).

The descriptors used were proposed for Capsicum in 1995 by IPGRI (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, renamed Biodiversity International). To obtain good morphological traits for each accession, the average of 10 randomized replications was taken, as the fruits got ripe.

The following traits were evaluated: pedicel length, fruit length, fruit width, fruit wall thickness, number of locules, seed yield per fruit, 100 seeds weight, fruit fresh weight, dry matter, dry matter content, pungency and color of ripe fruit.

Vitamin C content (Vit. C) and pH (pH) were obtained using 3.0-10.0 g of the tissue (pericarp and pulp) in which were added 100 mL of distilled water, proceeding to homogenization. The homogenized was used to determine the pH. After pH evaluation, 10 mL of sulfuric acid 20%, 1 mL of 0.01 N potassium iodide, 1 mL of 1% starch were added to the homogenized, titrating with 0.01 N potassium iodate, according to Pregnolatto & Pregnolatto (1985). The vitamin C content was determined by the expression:

Vitamin C (mg/g)= (100 x V x F)/P, where:

V= volume of potassium iodate spent in titration (mL); F= correction factor (0.8806 mg of vitamin C); P= weight of fresh sample (g).

The analysis of the total soluble solids (SST) of the fruit was carried out using tissues of pericarp and pulp, which were crushed with pestle and mortar to obtain one drop of juice which was taken to table refractometer, where the percentage of SST was evaluated.

Quantitative traits values were subjected to analysis of variance, through the F test at 1% followed by the grouping of the average values of the accessions through the Scott-Knott test at 1%. The statistic analyses were carried out through the GENES software (Cruz, 2001).

We determined the qualitative traits: color of ripe fruit (IPGRI, 1995) and the pungency of the fruit, classified through the sensorial method into the following classes: MA (very high), A (high), M (medium) and B (low) (Barbosa et al., 2002).



A very highly significant difference (p<0.01) was found among treatments for the studied quantitative parameters (Table 2), showing a great variability among the accessions stored in the Germplasm Bank of the UFRR. The genetic variability has been reported in different species of Capsicum genus in recent studies (Geleta et al., 2005; Sudré et al., 2005; Oyama et al., 2006; Bento et al., 2007; Fonseca et al., 2008; Rêgo et al., 2009; Thul et al., 2009; Rêgo et al., 2010). The coefficient of variation (CV) for fruit parameters was low to average, except for pedicel length, fruit fresh weight and minor fruit width, which showed high coefficients according to the classification of Silva et al. (2011a). Nevertheless, the differences among the accessions could be detected, showing the great variability among them in comparison to the environmental variation (experimental error). There is a possibility that these variables have been affected by the size of the samples, which, according to Silva et al. (2011b), should be of 15 fruits for the evaluation of these parameters. However, the size of the sample did not make any difference for the coefficient of variation for fruit wall thickness.

The accession 48 showed major values for the following parameters: fruit length, major fruit width and fresh matter (Table 2). However, this first trait did not differ statistically among the accessions 06, 12 and 50. This fact may have happened because this accession belongs to C. annuum species, which presents mostly sweet peppers, which presents higher weight and bigger fruits. Rêgo et al. (2001; 2009) point out the importance of these traits as secondary components of the production. According to these studies, it is possible to indirectly select more productive plants by selecting these components. The dry matter content is oppositely related to the fruit weight, so the longer is the fruit, the lower is its dry matter content (Casali & Stringheta, 1984; Lannes et al., 2007; Rêgo et al., 2010). The results of this study, concerning fruit length and dry matter content, are in agreement with these authors since the accession 48 (C. annuum) showed the highest number for fruit length, 10.41 cm (Table 2), and one of the lowest numbers for dry matter content, 6.28 g, among the studied accessions (Table 3).

The accessions 15, 22 and 69 showed the highest values for the minor fruit width, 2.20; 2.17 and 2.17, respectively, forming a separated group. Sudré et al., (2005) emphasize the importance of measuring the fruit width in genetic diversity studies in Capsicum.

The fruit wall thickness values ranged from 0.04 to 1.3 cm (Table 2) and the accessions 38 and 34 showed the highest values, 1.18 and 1.3 cm, respectively. Casali et al. (1984) found that the increase of fruit wall thickness is related to the reduction of the yield of dry matter. According to the authors, accumulation of water can occur in the cells of the surface tissues inner to the fruit pulp. On the other hand, pericarp thickness was positively related to dry matter in C. baccatum (Rêgo et al., 2001). In accordance to Rêgo et al. (2001) this trait is directly related to the yield of C. baccatum. Recent researches showed that this trait is controlled by non-additive genes, allowing the development of hybrids (Rêgo et al., 2009). Lannes et al. (2007) on studies with C. chinense reported a positive relation between fruit weight and fruit wall thickness, showing the importance of this trait on the development of varieties for the fresh market, once fruits with thicker pericarp are more resistant to damage in postharvest management and transportation. Rêgo et al. (2009) suggest plant breeding through simple selection for these variables, once they are determined by genetic additive effects.

Pedicel length ranged between 1.73 and 5.94 cm. Several accessions were included in the group with the higher values (from 4.47 to 5.94 cm), in contrast to the group that showed the lower values (from 1.73 to 2.50 cm). In the process of obtaining pepper powder, the flavor of the final product may be changed if during the milling process, calyx and pedicel were added (Casali & Stringheta, 1984).

A variation of two to four locules was noticed among the evaluated accessions. The accessions 22, 52 and 67, of C. chinense species (Table 1) showed the highest number of locules (Table 3). According to Casali et al. (1984), the number of the locules is related to the increase in the number of seeds per fruit. In tomatoes, the genes which control the shape of the fruit, obtained by the ratio between length and width, also control the number of locules. However, this correlation was not observed for the fruit of Capsicum genus (Paran & Van der Knapp, 2007).

The average seed yield per fruit ranged between 8.00 and 144.33. The accessions 21, 27 and 48 showed the highest number of seeds, with 124.66, 113.33 and 144.33 seeds, respectively (Table 2). The results presented in this study are not in agreement with those ones reported by Casali et al. (1984), since the accessions 22, 52 and 67, which showed the highest number of locules, were not the same which showed the highest seed yield per fruit. This variable is important to determine the variability among accessions and it should be determined in characterization works (Rêgo et al., 2003; Bento et al., 2007).

The accessions 03, 12, 19, 27, 38, 49 and 61 showed the highest 100 seeds weight, ranging between 0.91 and 1.66 g. The other accessions were set in three different groups (Table 2). The accessions 21, 27 and 48 which showed the highest number of seeds, mentioned in the previous paragraph, sometimes do not show the heaviest seeds.

The highest contents of total soluble solids (SST) were observed in the accessions 33, 41, 59, 44 and 53, presenting 14.83; 14.33; 14.66; 16.00 and 16.16, respectively (Table 3). According to Lannes et al. (2007), the higher SST content, the lower the water content in fruit. Because of this fact, this trait is very important in Capsicum breeding aiming industrial use, as the cost for dehydration of the fruit will be lower. Hybridization can be a viable strategy to increase SST content, as non-additive genes are predominant in its determination (Rêgo et al., 2009).

The accession 33, which belongs to C. frutescens species, better known as "malagueta", showed the highest vitamin C content, 191.39 mg/g (Table 3). According to Lantz (1946), ascorbic acid content (vitamin C) decreases 30%, approximately, in pickled and cooked peppers, and it reaches almost 0% in dry peppers.

The average pH ranged between 3.38 and 6.23. The highest and the lowest pH were obtained from the accessions 60 (C. chinense) and 48 (C. annuum), respectively (Table 3). It is important to evaluate pH in order to set the best day for harvest, since it is related to an appropriate composition for fresh market, for this, pH should be 5.0-5.2. The value of pH reaches its record, 6.52, in green immature fruit and tends to decrease as the fruit gets ripe, showing values of 5.02 in the mature fruit (Cochran, 1964).

The accessions 33, 41 and 44 showed 51.92; 44.03 and 36.17% of dry matter content, respectively (Table 3). This trait is important for breeding Capsicum for industry, since the higher dry matter content per fruit, the higher the yield in the use of dry or powder of chili and peppers (Lannes et al., 2007).

The colors of ripe fruit were red, yellow and orange (Table 4). The red color of ripe fruits was observed in 55 accessions (79.71%). Little color variability was observed in comparison to Inoue & Reifschneider (1989) in which orange, yellow, orange green, light yellow, brown, orange brown and dark red were observed.



For pungency, among 69 studied accession, 26 of them were classified as "very high" (37.68%), 19 as "high" (27.54%), 13 as "average" (18.84%) and 11 as "low" (15.94%) (Table 4).

Barbosa et al. (2002), describing 163 Capsicum accessions from the Bank of Germoplasm of Capsicum of Embrapa in Roraima, noticed similar results for the colors for ripe fruit and levels of pungency, for which red color and the levels "high" and "very high" for pungency were the most frequent. Pungency and color, however, are not correlated characteristics, since it is possible to have peppers in different colors and no pungency and different levels of pungency in the same color (Table 4).

The obtained results showed that there is a great variability among the 69 accessions, both for morphological and chemical parameters of the fruit. This diversity can be used in Capsicum breeding programs. In order to obtain cultivars for higher powder yield, accessions 33, 41 and 44 are recommended, since they recorded high dry matter and total soluble solids contents. In order to obtain higher marketable yield (for fresh market), accession 48 is recommended, which showed the highest values for fresh matter, fruit length and fruit width, and accession 33, Capsicum frutescens, which showed the highest vitamin C content.



The authors thank CNPq for financial support to the project "Genetic diversity and its utilization in the participative vegetable breeding in the Roraima State", process 550418/2001-6. We also thank CNPq for financial support to the third and fourth authors.



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(Recebido para publicação em 1 de dezembro de 2009; aceito em 27 de abril de 2011)
(Received on December 1, 2009; accepted on April 27, 2011)

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