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, 82 (12), 2885-2893

Metabolite Profiling of Peppers of Various Colors Reveals Relationships Between Tocopherol, Carotenoid, and Phytosterol Content

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Metabolite Profiling of Peppers of Various Colors Reveals Relationships Between Tocopherol, Carotenoid, and Phytosterol Content

Tae Jin Kim et al. J Food Sci.

Abstract

Peppers are widely consumed in Korea; the varietal development of peppers with increased content of beneficial plant metabolites is, therefore, of considerable interest. This requires a comprehensive understanding of the metabolic profile of pepper plants and the factors affecting this profile. To this end, we determined the content of various metabolites, such as hydrophilic and lipophilic compounds, phenolic acids, carotenoids, and capsaicinoids in peppers of various colors (green, red, pale green, and violet peppers) and in a high-pungency (green) pepper. We also performed principal component analysis (PCA), Pearson's correlation analysis, and hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA) to determine the relationships among these metabolites in peppers. PCA results indicated no significant variances among the 3 sample replicates. The HCA showed correlations between the metabolites resulting from common or closely linked biosynthesis pathways. Our results showed that carotenoids correlated positively with tocopherols and negatively with phytosterols; our findings also indicated a close relationship between the methylerythritol 4-phosphate and mevalonic acid biosynthesis pathways, providing evidence in favor of an earlier hypothesis regarding crosstalk across the chloroplast membrane. We, thus, demonstrate that metabolic profiling combined with multivariate analysis is a useful tool for analyzing metabolic networks.

Practical application: A total of 71 metabolites were measured in 5 peppers of different colors. The metabolic profiling with multivariate analysis revealed that tocopherol content had a positive correlation with the carotenoid content and a negative correlation with the phytosterol content. The results of this study may help in breeding programs to produce new germplasm with enhanced nutritional quality.

Keywords: carotenoids; metabolic pathway; metabolomics; pepper; phytosterol.

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