Influence of Fruit Ripening on Color, Organic Acid Contents, Capsaicinoids, Aroma Compounds, and Antioxidant Capacity of Shimatogarashi (<i>Capsicum frutescens</i>)

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  • Influence of Fruit Ripening on Color, Organic Acid Contents, Capsaicinoids, Aroma Compounds, and Antioxidant Capacity of Shimatogarashi (Capsicum frutescens)

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Abstract

<p>Shimatogarashi (Capsicum frutescens) is a typical chili pepper domesticated in southern Japan. Important traits of Shimatogarashi peppers, such as color; proportion of organic acids, capsaicinoids, and aromatic compounds; and antioxidant activity in three stages of maturity (green (immature), orange (turning), and red (mature) stages) were characterized. The results indicated that the concentration of organic acids, including ascorbic, citric, and malic acid, increased during ripening. In addition, the amount of capsaicinoids, which are responsible for the pungent taste of chili peppers, increased as the fruit matured to the orange and red stages. The volatile compound profile of Shimatogarashi was dominated by the presence of esters, which mainly contributed to fruity notes. The total amount of volatile compounds analyzed by gas chromatography-headspace solid-phase microextraction (GC-HS-SPME), especially esters, decreased as the fruit changed in color from green to red. This was in contrast to the amount of terpenoids, especially limonene, which increased at the red stage, denoting a change in flavor from fruity to a more citrus-like aroma. Based on the total phenolic content (TPC), the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and the diphenylpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical method, the antioxidant capacity of Shimatogarashi showed an increase at the mature red stage. However, while the red stage showed higher pungency and antioxidant capacity as well as an attractive color, the results of aromatic compound analysis revealed that the immature green stage had the advantages of having pleasant fruity smell, making it suitable for use in condiments.</p>

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