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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1986;24(3):245-355.

Capsicum--production, technology, chemistry, and quality. Part III. Chemistry of the color, aroma, and pungency stimuli.


The spice capsicum, the fruits of the genus Capsicum (Family Solanaceae), is a very popular food additive in many parts of the world, valued for the important sensory attributes of color, pungency, and aroma. A large number of varieties are widely cultivated and traded. The characteristic carotenoids of the bright red paprika and cayenne-type chillies, the high character impact aroma stimuli, the methoxy pyrazine of green bell capsicum, the esters of ripe tabasco and the highly potent pungency stimuli, and the capsaicinoids of African and other Asian varieties of chillies, have been of great interest to chemists and biochemists. Research workers in other disciplines such as genetics and breeding, agriculture, and technology have been interested in this spice to develop new varieties with combinations of different optimal levels of the stimuli for the sensory attributes and to maximize production of storable products for specific end uses. Physiologists have been intensely studying the action of the highly potent pungency stimuli and social psychologists the curious aspect of growing acceptance and preference for the initially unacceptable pungency sensation. In the sequential review of all these aspects of the fruit spice Capsicum, the earlier two parts covered history, botany, cultivation and primary processing, and processed products, standards, world production, and trade. In Part III, the chemistry, the compositional variations, synthesis and biosynthesis of the functional components, the carotenoids, the volatiles, and the capsaicinoids are comprehensively reviewed.

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