Capsicum Cultivated Under Adverse Conditions Produces High Concentrations of Antioxidants and Capsaicinoids

  •  Katsuko Kajiya    
  •  Hiroki Yamanouchi    
  •  Yurika Tanaka    
  •  Hiroka Hayashi    
  •  Yuji Minami    


Growing crops in sabulous soil is challenging owing to limited oligotrophy and low water retention. Nonetheless, some plants adapt well, imparting favorable properties to the fruit. This study investigated the influence of sandy soil (southern Japan) on red pepper by assessing the levels of pungent components, antioxidant activity, and vascular endothelial function. Leaves and fruits of Habanero orange and Tabasco pepper, the two varieties most suitable for cultivation in sandy soil, were analyzed for size, color, and pungent component composition. Pungent components were detected in the seeds and placenta of fruits but not in leaves or flowers. Antioxidant activity and nitric oxide production in human vascular endothelial cells were evaluated to detect differences in functionality. Capsicum peppers cultivated in sandy soil exhibited higher levels of antioxidants than peppers cultivated under nutrient-rich conditions (control) and induced nitric oxide levels in vascular endothelial cells similar to control peppers. Especially Satsuma-Habanero orange peppers cultivated in sandy soil exhibited the highest antioxidant activity. The fruits from pepper plants cultivated in sabulous soil could be harvested for a significantly longer period and were slower to spoil than control peppers; therefore, Satsuma-Capsicum plants may be commercially viable in oligotrophic areas.

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