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The stability of ß-carotene and capsanthin of capsicum annuum (paprika powder and fresh fruit) during storage

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H.Morais1, E.Forgács3,T. Cserháti3, J.S. Oliveira,2

1DTPA/EAN; Quinta do Marquês, 2780 Oeiras, Portugal. e-mail: 2GDEH, FCT/UNL, 2825 Monte da Caparica, Portugal; 3Central Research Institute for Chemistry, Hungarian Academy of Sciences,PO Box 17, 1525 Budapest, Hungary.

Various natural pigments such as anthocyanins, betalains, carotenoids, chlorophyll and its derivatives, flavonoids, etc. are abundant in the vegetable and animal kingdoms. As consumers prefer natural pigments and dislike the colour of synthetic dyes, the concentration and composition of pigments have a considerable influence on customer acceptance and, consequently, on the mercantile value of food products. Carotenoids are used extensively as natural, non-toxic pigments in food. The ripe fruits of the different varieties of peppers (Capsicum annum L.) are a good source of carotenoid pigments due to their high concentration in these compounds. In their natural environment the carotenoid pigments are fairly stable, but when the foodstuff is harvested, they become much more labile. These products lose colour easily due to the low stability of the pigments. The colour impairment during storage of pepper is a serious problem in many factories and enterprises. This degradation is attributable to many factors namely variety of pepper, moisture content, ripeness stage at harvest and healthy state of fruits before technological processing.

The objectives of our work were: (1) separation and quantitative determination of colour pigments of the red pepper; (2) study of the influence of various environmental conditions, as time storage, concentration of ascorbic acid or pepper seeds added to the powder samples and presence or absence of light, on the stability of capsanthin and -carotene; (3) elucidation of the effects of blanching on the kinetic parameters of the degradation reactions of two pigments of red pepper (-carotene and capsanthin) occurred during frozen storage.

Sub-programa IV. Programa Iberoamericano de Ciencia y tecnología para el Desarrollo CYTED.

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