Nav: Home

Snack peppers find acceptance with reduced seed count

June 14, 2019

John Stommel of the Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS) has investigated the desirability for, and practicality of, producing snack peppers, both sweet and hot, with low seed count.

His findings are in the article, "Reduced Seed Count Improves Versatility and Propagation of Small-fruited Peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) for Specialty Markets," published in HortScience.

Small/miniature sweet and hot peppers, such as snack peppers, are a rapidly growing class of specialty peppers. As with grapes and watermelons and certain other fruits, low seed count is an important attribute for consumer acceptance of small-fruited specialty peppers. But, this attribute is understandably counterproductive in terms of maintaining a strong continuous yield.

Environmental stress conditions, including high or low temperature, humidity, high or low light intensity, heavy rain or drought, and even strong wind, negatively affect the quality of fruit and growth. These conditions can also induce fruit to be seedless or with significantly reduced seed.

This is known as parthenocarpy, the development of a fruit without prior fertilization. In parthenocarpy, the ovary is stimulated even without pollination and thus fruit development begins without fertilization. Some of this occurs naturally, as with bananas, pineapples, and persimmons, to name but a few. Other examples are a result of thoughtful intervention.

Induction of parthenocarpy is a common agricultural practice for some horticultural crops. Selective breeding for parthenocarpy has demonstrated the utility of seedlessness for improved yield and quality in selected environments.

Small sweet peppers are popular among consumers because of their versatility, snackability, vibrant colors, and nutrition attributes. Mature peppers comprise the majority of the snack pepper market segment due to enhanced sweetness and the aroma of ripe fruit.

Although characteristically pungent, no-heat habanero cultivars within the snack market class provide unique fruity and floral attributes of the habanero without fruit pungency.

Seasonal field production is supplemented by year-round greenhouse production. Although field production of traditional pepper commodities is in decline in parts of the country, other segments, including snack peppers, are expanding greenhouse acreage for high-value pepper production.

A relatively small number of commercial snack pepper cultivars have been developed, many of which lack uniformity and quality attributes such as low seed count, which enhances culinary convenience for product end users.

True breeding pepper lines selected for reduced fruit seed count exhibited significantly reduced seed count relative to breeding lines with seed set typical for pepper.
-end-
The complete article is available in the ASHS HortScience journal: https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/54/4/article-p652.xml. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI13602-18. Or you may contact John Stommel of the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service at john.stommel@ars.usda.gov, or call him at (301) 504-5583.

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticulture Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticulture research, education, and application. More information at ashs.org.

American Society for Horticultural Science

Related Fertilization Articles:

How much carbon the land can stomach with more carbon dioxide in the air
Researchers from 28 institutions in nine countries succeeded in quantifying carbon dioxide fertilization for the past five decades, using simulations from 12 terrestrial ecosystem models and observations from seven field carbon dioxide enrichment experiments.
Is a great iron fertilization experiment already underway?
Using a new, highly sensitive tracer for human-derived iron falling on the ocean, researchers led by the USF College of Marine Science say we have underestimated the iron we add to the ocean compared to natural sources.
Anther rubbing, a new movement discovered in plants, promotes prior selfing
Most plants have developed mechanisms to prevent self-fertilization and its detrimental effects of inbreeding depression.
Changes to small RNA in sperm may help fertilization
UMass Medical School Professor Oliver J. Rando, M.D., Ph.D., sheds new light on the processes of fertilization and epigenetic inheritance in mammals.
A protein that promotes compatibility between chromosomes after fertilization
A research team from the Center for Biomedical Research, at the University of Algarve, and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, led by Rui Gonçalo Martinho and Paulo Navarro-Costa has identified the mechanism by which the fertilized egg balances out the differences between chromosomes inherited from the mother and the father.
More Fertilization News and Fertilization Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...