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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2005 Oct;69(10):1958-62.

Quantitative analysis of sanshool compounds in Japanese pepper (Xanthoxylum piperitum DC.) and their pungent characteristics.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Ochanomizu University, Otsuka, Tokyo, Japan.


The distributions of each sanshool in the Japanese pepper plant grown in various regions and the change in composition of sanshools during maturation of the fruit were investigated. The degree of pungency, defined as the amount of a sanshool/the threshold value, was calculated, and the pungent qualities of the products were evaluated and compared. The degree of pungency and amount of a sanshool showed a positive correlation. In young leaves and flowers, the degree of pungency was less than that in the fruits, the main compound being alpha-sanshool, while the two hydroxy sanshools were detected only in trace amounts. The main compound in fruits was hydroxy alpha-sanshool, whose threshold value was higher than that of alpha-sanshool. It is concluded that the pungency of Japanese pepper should be evaluated not only by the threshold values, but also by the pungent qualities, the composition of sanshools, and the usage of each product of Japanese pepper.

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