Future prospects for Capsicums

Being the largest producer of Capsicums in the world, India deserves to have a dominant position in its value addition and export. At present, the country's export of dry chillies and other

Post-harvest handling and processing of Capsicums 171 Table 10.3 EOA specifications for Capsicum oleoresins

Title

Oleoresin

Capsicum (African chillies)

Oleoresin red pepper

Oleoresin paprika

Number Botanical source

Preparation

Appearance and colour

Scoville Heat Units (for pungency by described method) Colour value (by described method)

Solubility Alcohol

Benzyl benzoate Fixed oils Glycerine Mineral oils Propylene glycol Residual solvent

gas chromatographic method)

EOA No. 244 C. frutescens L. or

C. annuum L. Solvent extraction of dried ripe fruit, with subsequent removal of solvent A clear red, light amber or dark red, somewhat viscid liquid with characterisitc odour and very high bite 480,000 min.

4,000 max.

Sendt. Solvent extraction of dried ripe fruit, with subsequent removal of solvent A deep red liquid with characteristic odour and high bite

240,000 min.

Solvent extraction of dried ripe pods and subsequent removal of solvent A deep red somewhat viscid liquid with characteristic odour

20,000 max.

As stated on label (generally 40,000 to 100,000)

Partly soluble with oily separation Soluble Soluble Insoluble Insoluble Insoluble

Partly soluble with oily separation Soluble Soluble Insoluble Insoluble Insoluble

Meets with Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act Regulations; metheiene chloride, trichloroethyiene, individually or collectively not more than 30ppm; isopropyl or methyl alcohol not more than 50ppm; hexane not more than 2 5 ppm

Partly soluble with oily separation Soluble Soluble Insoluble

Very slightly insoluble Insoluble products has not reached the desired levels. Therefore, various improvements in the whole chain of crop production, post-harvest technologies, processing and marketing are required.

Even though under the Coordinated Vegetable Development Programme of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, India, considerable progress has been made in increasing productivity and resistance to diseases, there is scope for further improvements. Today, aflatoxin in dry chillies is a major export issue, which calls for the development of aflatoxin free lines.

Due to various reasons, natural plant colourants are acquainting great commercial importance. Among them Capsicum red colour is the most promising, considering its wide application. In India, the promising Capsicum varieties having good colour value and low pungency are Bydagi, Arka Kabir, the Warrangal chilli and KT-P1-19- They are, however, not comparable to Hungarian paprikas of high colour values and negligible pungency. Therefore, it will be very useful to develop such varieties so that the growing demand for chilli colour can be met better.

The demand for tailor-made chilli products to suit diverse product applications and large scale food processing is increasing. These applications call for the provision of products with the required levels of aroma, pungency and colour, in addition to good storage stability. The accumulated scientific information indicates the importance of the harvesting stage and the primary processing conditions on product quality, especially the colour. This knowledge could be properly utilised to develop new technologies.

It is rather difficult to develop chilli varieties suitable for different product applications. The blending of chilli powders and oleoresins with the help of modern sensory techniques could be standardized to obtain various formulations.

Chilli extracts are presently produced mostly by solvent extraction. Even though the industry is now able to maintain the specified limits of solvent residue levels, there is scope for developing cost effective alternative technologies, such as supercritical gas extraction, which have the additional advantage of selective extraction of components.

Microbial and insect infestations are serious problems in chillies. In addition to the development of pre- and post-harvest protocols, controls in various critical processing steps have to be introduced. In addition to the fumigation and chemical sterilisation practised, irradiation could be further investigated and popularized.

It is needless to state that packaging of the products is critically important for maintaining their storage quality, as well as to aid in marketing. Continuous improvements are possible in this area, along with the development of newer packaging materials having functional properties.

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