Chipotle pepper is a dry smoked red Jalapeño pepper well appreciated in the Mexican and American cuisines. Phytochemical content and antioxidant activity of red Jalapeño pepper has been previously reported, however, the effect of the smoking process in the content of phytochemicals, antioxidant capacity and capsaicinoids has not been previously reported. In the present study we found that the smoking process had a significant effect on the content of polyphenolic compounds and antioxidant capacity of red Jalapeño pepper. It induced a nearly 50% increase in total phenols and 15% increase in antioxidant capacity in chipotle pepper compared to fresh samples (in dry weight basis). Capsaicinoids and ascorbic acid content decreased in smoked samples, while carotenoids remained practically unchanged. The strongest effect of smoking was observed in the content of total flavonoids and catechin determined by HPLC. Therefore we can conclude that smoking process has a positive effect in the fruit because it raises its phytochemical properties. The type of wood used in the smoking process also had an effect on the phytochemical content and antioxidant capacity with traditional pecan wood being the best.
Keywords: Antioxidant capacity; Capsaicinoids; Hot pepper; Polyphenols; Smoked foods.
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