(253) TAM `Dulcito' and `Tropic Bell'—Two New Sweet Peppers with Enhanced Beneficial Phytochemical Levels

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  • 1 1Texas A&M University, Horticultural Sciences, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Weslaco, TX, 78596
  • | 2 2Texas A&M University, Horticultural Sciences, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Uvalde, TX, 78801
  • | 3 3Texas A&M University, Horticultural Sciences, Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, College Station, TX, 77845

At the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, plant breeding has produced pepper lines with enhanced beneficial phytochemical levels. TAM `Dulcito' is a new jalapeño cultivar with no detectable levels of capsaicin, but increased levels of lutein. In greenhouse cultivation, it contained 122 ppm of this important human health-related compound, which aids in prevention of macular degeneration. This is a significant improvement over popular cultivars, such as `Grande', which contained 25 ppm or less. In addition to improved lutein levels, `Dulcito' also possesses resistance to three important potyviruses: TEV, PepMoV, and PVY. In field trials at Weslaco, Texas, `Dulcito' outyielded both TAM `Mild Jalapeño 2', and `Mitla'. This new cultivar produces a concentrated set of large, thick-fleshed fruit with few cuticular cracks. Because of its lack of pungency, it should be useful for the processing industry. TAM `Tropic Bell' is a medium-sized, blocky bell with enhanced levels of both ascorbic acid and lutein compared to other cultivars. Grown under greenhouse conditions, it contained 100 ppm lutein compared to 6 ppm in `Jupiter'. It also contained 660 ppm ascorbic acid at the green stage, compared to less than 100 ppm for three commercial bell cultivars tested. `Tropic Bell' produced yields equal to both `Valiant' and `Summer Sweet' commercial hybrids at Weslaco. Fruit of `Tropic Bell' were slightly smaller than the hybrid cultivars. TAM `Tropic Bell' possesses resistance to the same three potyviruses as `Dulcito' and demonstrated excellent tolerance to Phytophthora capsici in a controlled inoculation. These two new cultivars will be useful for production in locations with high potyvirus pressure or as specialty market items for health-conscious consumers.

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