Phytochemical status and antioxidant capacity of selected hot pepper varieties cultivated in Tanzania

Hot pepper is one of the most important economic fruits with abundant of nutritional qualities. Thus, the consumption of foods of plant origin with high nutritional and bioactive compounds of high antioxidants capacity is a major concern nowadays. A study was conducted to determine and quantify concentrations of important bioactive compounds present in the nine selected hot pepper varieties cultivated in Tanzania. Hot peppers were grown in the field at Botany department research farm, University of Dar es Salaam from March to September, 2021. Then, ripe-fruit extracts were used to determine vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene, total phenolic content (TPC) and total flavonoid content (TFC)among the varieties quantitatively. The results indicated that there were very high significant variations on the nutrients and bioactive compound concentrations (p<0.0001) among all varieties of hot pepper evaluated. The highest amount of vitamin C was 948.30 ± 22.6 mg/100g recorded from orange bird eye variety. The high concentration of beta-carotene was 0.62 ± 0.006mg/ 100 ml recorded from orange bird eye. The highest concentration of lycopene was 0.55 ± 0.0003 mg/ 100 ml from Big red cayenne. The highest concentration of TPC was 454.247 ± 20.9mg GAE/ 100g obtained from Big red cayenne. The highest concentration of TFC was 8.92 ± 0.15 mg RE/ 100g obtained from Big red cayenne. High variability was observed among the hot pepper varieties; Big red cayenne variety with the highest concentrations of TPC, TFC and lycopene, showed to have the highest radical scavenging capacity. Big red cayenne can be a cheap source of natural antioxidants, therefore recommended for future development of nutraceuticals or healthy food products and conveying great benefits for food and pharmaceutical industries, consumers, and producers.

 Agnesia Petro Mweta and Stephen Issa Nnungu