The β-carotene and total carotenoid content of either fresh or dried tissue of fruits of a total of 57 cultivars of six Capsicum species were analyzed using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). β-Carotene levels in ripe fruit varied from 0 to 166 μg·g-1 fresh weight, and carotenoid levels were from 1 to 896 μg·g-1 in ripe fruit in 1996. The range of values for β-carotene was similar in 1997, but that for total carotenoids was wider (4 to 1173 μg·g-1 fresh weight). Fresh fruit of the cultivars Greenleaf Tabasco, Pulla, Guajillo, NuMex Conquistador, Ring-O-Fire, and Thai Dragon contained greater amounts of β-carotene per 100 g fresh weight than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin A for the average adult. For dried Capsicum entries, New Mexican, aji, pasilla, and ancho types had the highest levels of β-carotene. In 1996, β-carotene levels among the dried Capsicum germplasm ranged from 2 to 739 μg·g-1 dry weight, and carotenoid levels from 111 to 6226 μg·g-1. Values were higher in 1997, ranging from 24 to 1198 μg·g-1 dry weight for β-carotene and from 187 to 10,121 μg·g-1 for total carotenoids. A pasilla type (C. annuum L.) had the highest total carotenoid content among the dried entries in both years.
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