Understanding colour retention in red chilli pepper fruit using a metabolite profiling approach

Harriet Berry, Florence Lai, Aniko Kende, Daniel Rickett, Charles Baxter, Eugenia Enfissi, Paul Fraser

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Carotenoids are the pigments responsible for conferring the characteristic deep red colour to chilli pepper. The post-harvest retention of this colour is a key trait that governs the price of the produce. Determining colour retention and the associated underlying biochemical mechanisms are important issues that require investigation. In this present study, the ability of image analysis to determine colour change in ground chilli fruit was evaluated. This method enabled differentiation of extreme retention phenotypes whilst also reducing the duration of storage required to make accurate determinations. The analysis of volatiles indicated different levels of lipid and carotenoid derived volatiles in lines with different retention properties. Metabolite profiling of intermediary metabolism supported these findings, with increased levels of unsaturated fatty acids present in lines with low retention properties. Collectively, these data have led us to propose that in chilli fruit lipid peroxidation is one of the progenitors of carotenoid degradation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100013
JournalFood Chemistry
Early online date26 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jan 2021


  • Capsicum, carotenoids, colour, retention, post-harvest storage, volatiles, metabolomics

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