Characterization of Bolivian chili peppers; antioxidant capacity, total phenolic compounds, capsaicin and β-carotene concentration

Leslie Tejeda, Pamela Elizabeth Vasquez Iriarte, Jimena Valeria Ortiz, Enzo Aliaga-Rossel, Patricia Mollinedo, J. Mauricio Peñarrieta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Chili pepper pods are a worldwide used and cultivated spice with a high economic and cultural importance. Bolivia is a center of origin and diversification of important crops including wild pepper varieties, but little is known about the chemical composition, antioxidant activity and the Scoville and bioactive compounds of these chili peppers. The purpose of this study was to contribute with new data about the chemical composition and the Scoville scale of Bolivian Chili peppers. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 26 samples of Bolivian Chili peppers were extracted using distilled water and methanol. Total antioxidant capacity was determined by the ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and by the 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS) methods. The total phenolic content was determined by Folin and Ciocalteu. Carotene, protein and ashes were determined by Bolivian analytical norms. Capsaicin was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. All determinations were expressed as mean values± standard deviation of six replicates measured over three days of one extract. All values were less than 5% of coefficient of variation. Principal component analysis was applied to reveal patterns in the data. PC1 and PC2 together explained 78% of the total variance. Findings: The protein content (3.8–6.3 g/100 g of dw) and the antioxidant activity (88.2 to 374 by FRAP and 87.0 to 172 evaluated by ABTS) studied in these species revealed that the values were above the average reported in the literature. The amount of pungency or capsaicin content expressed as Scoville Heat Units were reported moderately highly and very highly pungent (5,696–148,800 g dw) in several of the Bolivian peppers which demonstrates a good potential for capsaicin extraction and different applications for industry and as food ingredients. Originality/value: This manuscript presents an important and novel contribution to the knowledge of the chili peppers in the region.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNutrition and Food Science
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks to the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency – Sida, the Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation Swisscontact and Fundación Proinpa. Special thanks to Leslie La Torre, Fabiola Cruz, Fernando Peñarrieta, Sandra Nisttahusz for the support to this project. Thanks to Teodora Popova for her insightful comments to the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Antioxidants
  • Capsicum sp
  • Polyphenols
  • Pungency
  • Scoville
  • Spicy
  • Ulupica


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