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E.H. Simonne, J.T. Eason, J.A. Pitts, and J.T. Owen

Bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) fruit are typically green in color at the immature stage, 1/3 and 2/3 colored during ripening, and red at maturity. However, this sequence does not apply to new varieties with immature colors of white or purple, intermediate colors of brown or black, and mature colors of yellow or orange. The study of physiological changes during ripening in such cultivars requires the description of color changes. Therefore, color changes of new bell pepper varieties were evaluated by subjective description and objective measurement of L, a, and b. Color changes were described with a five-color stage scale. L, a, and b were affected significantly by variety (P < 0.01), and a and b were affected significantly by color stage (P = 0.95, 0.01, and 0.01 for L, a, and b, respectively). Location and cultivar*location had no significant effect. For each cultivar, differences in a and b values defined color stages that were clearly identifiable. When plotted, color measurements (a and b) were in good agreement with the verbal descriptions. Therefore, measurements of L, a, and b are not systematically necessary when referring to bell pepper colors.