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Fátima Medina-Lara, Ileana Echevarría-Machado, Ramón Pacheco-Arjona, Nancy Ruiz-Lau, Adolfo Guzmán-Antonio and Manuel Martinez-Estevez

Habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense Jacq.) is a very important crop in Mexico and demand for it is increasing in national and international markets. The habanero pepper produced on the Yucatan Peninsula is considered of superior quality to that grown in the rest of the world as a result of its shelf life and pungency. Despite its importance, little research has been done on cultivation conditions that may affect its productivity and fruit quality. The effect of N or K fertilization on habanero pepper development and fruit pungency was evaluated. Plants under fertilization stress (control) had high capsaicin content. Nitrogen fertilization significantly increased plant growth and fruit while maintaining high capsaicin levels. Optimum response was produced with 15 mm urea as the N source. Potassium fertilization had no positive effects on growth or productivity. The N treatments modified endogenous K levels in the pepper plants and vice versa. The K : N ratio (specifically in leaves and roots) varied between treatments with values greater than 1 in the K treatments, near 0.5 in the control, and less than 0.5 in the N treatments. This parameter may be an important indicator of habanero pepper productivity and requires study under different fertilization regimes.

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Manuel Martínez-Estévez, Nancy Ruiz-Lau, Rita Elena May-Uluac, Adolfo Guzmán-Antonio, Fausto Quintal-Tun and Ramón Pacheco-Arjona

Dynamics and distribution of K, Ca, Mg, P, and Na were studied in leaves of three cultivars of habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense Jacq.) at the time of transplanting and 8 and 14 weeks afterward. Most nutrients analyzed were mobilized from younger to mature leaves, except for P, which occurred in the opposite direction, probably due to its role in the synthesis of nucleic acids, which is more active in young tissues. Information about mineral distribution in leaves during the first 14 weeks after transplantation could be used to indicate plant nutritional status and fertilizer requirements.

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Liliana S. Muñoz-Ramírez, Laura P. Peña-Yam, Susana A. Avilés-Viñas, Adriana Canto-Flick, Adolfo A. Guzmán-Antonio and Nancy Santana-Buzzy

The Yucatan Peninsula is recognized as the center of genetic diversity of Habanero peppers (Capsicum chinense Jacq.), which can be distinguished from those cultivated in other regions of the world by their aroma, taste, and—most of all—by their pungency. We evaluated three commercial varieties of chili peppers reported as being the hottest in the world: ‘Bhut Jolokia’, ‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’, and ‘Carolina Reaper’. The aim of our study was to determine the behavior of the pungency when cultivated under the edaphoclimatic conditions of Yucatan. Our results show that the three varieties registered greater contents in comparison with those reported in other regions of the world. ‘Carolina Reaper’—considered to be the hottest variety in the world, with a pungency of 2,200,000 Scoville heat units (SHU)—when cultivated in Yucatan, had a pungency of 3,006,330 SHU, which was greater than all the other varieties analyzed.

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Nancy Ruiz-Lau, Fátima Medina-Lara, Yereni Minero-García, Enid Zamudio-Moreno, Adolfo Guzmán-Antonio, Ileana Echevarría-Machado and Manuel Martínez-Estévez

The pungency of chili peppers is conferred by compounds called capsaicinoids that are produced only in the fruits of the Capsicum genus. Accumulation of capsaicinoids in these fruits may be affected by environmental conditions such as water and nutrient stresses, although these effects may vary even among genotypes within a species. The Habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense Jacq.), grown in the Yucatán, is in especially high demand as a result of its unique flavor, aroma, and pungency and is the second most important commercial crop in the state after the tomato. Although the Habanero pepper is a significant economic resource for the region, few studies have investigated the effects of abiotic stresses on capsaicinoid production. In this study, the effects of water stress on plant growth, capsaicinoid accumulation, and capsaicin synthase activity were evaluated. Habanero pepper plants under water stress had a lower height, root dry weight, and root/shoot relation than control plants, which were irrigated daily. However, fruit growth and production were unaffected by water stress. Capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin concentrations increased in fruits of stressed plants compared with control plants, and this effect was correlated with fruit age. However, capsaicin synthase activity was reduced in response to water stress, and this effect depended on both stress severity and fruit age. These results provide new information on the regulation of capsaicinoid metabolism in response to abiotic stress from the fruit of a highly pungent chili pepper.

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Carlos Alberto Lecona-Guzmán, Sheila Reyes-Zambrano, Felipe Alonso Barredo-Pool, Miguel Abud-Archila, Joaquín Adolfo Montes-Molina, Reiner Rincón-Rosales and Federico Antonio Gutierrez-Miceli

Factors such as slow growth, low rates of sexual and asexual reproduction, and viability of seeds among others limit the massive propagation of Agave americana L. by conventional methods. In this study, callus induction and shoot proliferation was determined in A. americana using Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with dicholorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 6-benzyl adenine (BA). Meristematic tissue was used as the explants, and were placed on MS medium supplemented with 30.0 g·L−1 sucrose with 0.11, 0.18, or 0.45 μm 2,4-D and 11.0, 22.0, 38.2, 44.0, 58.7, or 73.3 μm BA. Treatments were implemented according to factorial experimental design 3 × 6. After 1 month, the number of explants with callus was determined, whereas the numbers of shoots per explant were monitored after 4, 16, 20, and 36 weeks. The maximum percent of explants with callus was obtained with 0.11 μm 2,4-D and 58.7 and 73.3 μm BA, whereas the maximum numbers of shoots per explant (71) were obtained with 0.11 μm 2,4-D and 73.3 μm BA. The effect of different concentrations of indolebutyric acid (IBA) in the rooting of shoots was evaluated. There were no significant effects of IBA on the number of roots, root length, and axillary roots. Plantlets were acclimatized in the glasshouse and they did not show any phenotypic alteration. This is a highly efficient protocol for the in vitro propagation of A. americana via indirect organogenesis.

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Laura P. Peña-Yam, Liliana S. Muñoz-Ramírez, Susana A. Avilés-Viñas, Adriana Canto-Flick, Jacobo Pérez-Pastrana, Adolfo Guzmán-Antonio, Nancy Santana-Buzzy, Erick A. Aguilera-Cauich and Javier O. Mijangos-Cortés

The variability and genetic parameters of seven agronomic characteristics were estimated for 11 genotypes, and high values of the phenotypic coefficient of variation (PCV) of capsaicin content (CC) were obtained. Heritability (h2) was high for yield per plant (YP; 0.98) and CC (0.93). The principal components analysis (PCA) revealed that the first three components explained 94.02% of the total variation; therefore, genotypes with higher YP values and fruit weight (FW) (AKN-08, ASBC-09) were placed in quadrant I. Those with greater CC and lowest YP and FW (MBI-11, RES-05) were placed in quadrant II. The greatest fruit length (RNJ-04) was placed in quadrant III. Those with the greatest number of fruits per plant (NBA-06, RKI-01, RHC-02, RHN-03, NKA-07, and MSB-12) were placed in quadrant IV. The results showed that the genotypes studied comprise an excellent source of genetic material for Habanero pepper improvement programs.