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  • Author or Editor: Janakiraman Maruthavanan x
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The pungency in hot peppers [Capsicum annuum (L.) var. annuum] is mostly due to two capsaicinoids, capsaicin (CAP) and dihydrocapsaicin (DC), which are amide derivatives of vanillylamine and 8-methyl-6-nonenoic acid (E) or 8-methyl-nonanoic acid (A), respectively. During our investigation of the mechanism of capsaicinoid-specific metabolism in pepper fruit, we have developed a method to extract, purify, and quantitate these fatty acids from the free fatty acid pool in placental tissue. Fresh placenta was ground using a mortar and pestle and extracted with diethyl ether. Fatty acids were methanolysed and fatty acid methyl esters were quantitated using GC with capric acid as internal standard. Capsaicinoids accumulated in the same placenta were extracted with N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) and quantitated using HPLC. The lipid fraction had to be separated from capsaicinoids, since capsaicinoids yielded about 10% of their respective fatty acids during methanolysis. An aminopropyl column was used to separate capsaicinoids from free fatty acids. Extraction recovery for both fatty acids was greater than 70%. This procedure is being used to quantitate fatty acid precursors for capsaicinoid biosynthesis in pepper placenta. We will demonstrate use of this procedure with pepper selections varying in CAP/DC ratio to evaluate the effect of metabolic precursors on capsaicinoid metabolism.

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