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Research Article

Evaluation and Selection of Suitable Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) Types in Turkey

A. Balkaya and O. Karaagac
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This study was conducted in order to select valuable genetic resources of red conic pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) in Bafra plain situated on Black Sea Region of Turkey during 2003 and 2005. Fifty six red pepper populations were collected from different eco-geographical areas in the research region. All native red pepper genotypes were examined with respect to morphological characteristics. Ranking method was used for selecting superior types. The results of ranking method revealed twenty two superior types. Research results also showed that all populations had 11.2-19.2 cm fruit length, 4.8-7.2 cm fruit width and 4.3-5.8 mm for flesh thickness. Fruit colours of selected types were in red and dark red tones. In the majority of populations harvest time occurred at 105 days. On the other hand, the genotypes exhibited a range of 653.9-1415.5 g for the total fruit weight plants-1, 7.2-13.5 for the fruit number plant-1, 53.0-155.0 mg/100 g for ascorbic acid, 5.2-8.0% for total soluble solids and 8.0-11.9% for total dry weight. At the end of this study, 12 types were selected as being promising for further breeding efforts.

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A. Balkaya and O. Karaagac, 2009. Evaluation and Selection of Suitable Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) Types in Turkey. Asian Journal of Plant Sciences, 8: 483-488.

DOI: 10.3923/ajps.2009.483.488



The genus Capsicum originated in the American tropics. Five species of Capsicum were cultivated in different parts of the World. Capsicum annuum was domesticated in highland of Mexico (Bosland, 1996; Pickersgill, 1997). Portuguese ships carried peppers from Spain to Arabia and from there it spread to all the conquered areas by the Ottoman Turks (Zatyko, 2006). Since, their introduction into the old world, peppers have been cultivated in various environments and different pepper types have also been developed (Zewdie and Zeven, 1997).

Turkey is one of significant and unique country in the world from plant genetic resources and plant diversity (Balkaya and Karaagac, 2005). Turkey is a micro-gene centre for many landraces including Solanaceae (Kucuk, 2001). Therefore, these landraces are still grown by farmers in almost all regions. Turkey’s total pepper production was 1.759.224 Mt and was ranked 3rd in the world . Peppers have a special role in Turkish cuisine and are consumed either fresh, processed or dried. Pepper are commonly grown in Black Sea Region of Turkey and Samsun is a producer province in this area. Red conic sweet pepper has a big share in production with 46.693 Mt (Anonymous, 2006). Traditional and native pepper varieties are grown in small plots and growers produce their own seed (Abak, 1994). Recently, new cultivars have become common after introducing different cultivars which are suitable to consume fresh.

Up to now, cultivar selection studies have been conducted on pepper populations in Turkey. The first selection studies on pepper germplasm were initiated at the beginning of the 1980’s in different regions of Turkey. From those studies promising selections have been described with regard to several fruit characteristics (Alan, 1984; Surmeli and Gursoy, 1985; Surmeli and Gungor, 1988; Inan, 1988; Akinci and Ersin, 2004). Results of these studies were summarized as follows:

Yaglik Pepper populations (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) were collected from Bursa region in 1978. Morphological and pomological characteristics, yield and technological characteristic were assessed during the selection. At the end of the study Yaglik-28 variety was registered (Surmeli and Gursoy, 1985). Now this variety has been used in pepper variety commonly used for fresh or processed. In another study, open pollinated Yalova Çorbacı 12, a bell pepper type, is a open pollinated cultivar developed from the population of Çorbacı peppers between 1982 and 1987. Morphological and pomological characteristics and yield were assessed during selection. Line 12 was selected for the highest yield and the best characteristics. The standard variety of the Çorbacı population was named and registered as Yalova Çorbacı 12. The weight of the fruit is 18-22 g, the skin color is yellowish-light green and the fruit sweet to the taste (Surmeli and Gungor, 1988). Turkey is an important producer of spice peppers, especially in the south and South-East regions. One hundred and fifteen red hot pepper accessions for spice production, originally collected from the Kahramanmaras region of Turkey, were evaluated for quantitative and qualitative characters. Eleven types were selected for it use in breeding (Akinci and Ersin, 2004).

On the contrary to other regions, there has been no comprehensive programs for collecting or characterizing red conic pepper genetic resources in the Black Sea region (North of Turkey) and no reported study evaluating them (Yanmaz, 2002). So, the aim of this research was to select the most promising red conic pepper genotypes for breeding efforts.


Fifty six red pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) populations were collected during August and October 2003 from Bafra plain, Black Sea Region, Turkey. Collected seeds were maintained in cold storage at 4°C at Faculty of Agriculture, Ondokuz Mayıs University up to sowing time.

The evaluations were carried out in the province of Samsun at the Black Sea Agricultural Research Institute. The seeds of red conic pepper populations were sown into plug trays (5.5 cm width and 5.5 cm depth) respectively, March 30th 2004 and April 4th 2005. Peat and perlite at 3:1 rate, respectively were used as the growing medium. The seedlings were transplanted to open field May 10th 2004 and May 18th 2005 with spacings of 80 and 40 cm between rows. Fertilization and weed control was done regularly during the growing period. Fruits were harvested when they reached the fully mature red stages. Every genotype was harvested at a time specific to the cultivar. Harvesting started at the end of August and lasted to the end of October each year. The selected characters were described by adapting the IPGRI Capsicum sp. descriptors list (Anonymous, 1995) to the characteristics of the genetic material and previous field observations. Fruit characteristic analyses were carried out on 5 fruits harvested from each of 96 plants for each genotype. Studied fruit characters included fruit length, fruit width, fruit shape of longitudinal section, flesh thickness, fruit color in maturity. Earliness and yield characteristics were also measured. The fruit number per plant and total fruit weight per plant values were determined for each population during the harvest period.

Table 1: Scores given to characteristics based on evaluation
Image for - Evaluation and Selection of Suitable Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) Types in Turkey

Mean fruit weight was calculated by dividing the total fruit weight by the fruit number. In addition, total soluble solids (TSS %), total dry weight (TDW %) and content of ascorbic acid (mg/100 g) of fruit were recorded for each types. Statistical analyses of results were done using Excel 7.0.

The fruit and yield characteristics data were evaluated by the Weighted-Ranked (WR) method (Balkaya and Yanmaz, 1999, 2005). The WR method is a tool commonly used in statistical analyses. This method is known as Tartılı derecelendirme in Turkish and almost exclusively used in the studies with multivariate data generated in horticultural research. Class values of selection criteria, Class Scores (CS) and Relative Scores (RS) were assigned (Table 1). The total points of types were calculated by summing Class Scores (CS) multiplied by Relative Scores (RS). Based on the results of the selection, twenty two genotypes were selected to use second year selection.


In this research, 56 genotype were evaluated in the first experiment year and 22 genotypes were selected according to the fruit characteristic (Table 2, 3). Fruit dimensions showed a range of 11.2-19.2 cm for fruit length, 4.8-7.2 cm for fruit width, 4.3-5.8 mm for flesh thickness (Table 2).

Table 2: Some fruit characteristics of red pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) populations selected from Bafra plain, Turkey
Image for - Evaluation and Selection of Suitable Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) Types in Turkey

Table 3: Some fruit characteristics of red pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) populations selected from Bafra plain, Turkey
Image for - Evaluation and Selection of Suitable Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) Types in Turkey

Table 4: Weight-based ranking points of red pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) populations from the Black Sea region of Turkey. (Types selected with 380 or more points are shown in bold)
Image for - Evaluation and Selection of Suitable Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) Types in Turkey

Red sweet peppers were separated into five group such as rectangular, trapezoid, triangular, narrow triangular and horn fruit shape (Table 3). In this study, it was found that seventeen red pepper types had shape of longitudinal section. Colour is one of the most important attributes of red pepper (Bosland, 1993) and turning from red to dark red of fruit colour is increased market worth (Todorova et al., 1999).

The selected types had 53.0-155.0 mg/100 g ascorbic acid, 5.2-8.0% TSS, 8.0-11.9% TDW (Table 2). G24 had the highest ascorbic acid with 155.0 mg/100 g and G7 (152.6 mg/100 g) and G28 (145.0 mg/100 g) followed it. The soluble solid content was lower in the three selections (G2, G12, G25) comparing to the other genotypes (Table 3). The TDW % was more than 11% for G53, G28, G33 (Table 2).

When total points were taken into consideration, it was found that the point range of the selected types varied from 340 to 420 (Table 4). The most promising types were considered to be those having a total of 380 or more points. Based on these criteria, 12 types (bold type in Table 4) were selected at the end of this research. Selected genotypes will be used in future years for breeding.

In the selected types time from seed sowing to harvest varied between 95 (G1) and 113 (G53) days. In the majority types, harvest time occurred at 105 days. The total fruit weight plants-1 varied from 653.9-1415.5 g (Fig. 1). The G7 had the highest total yield plant-1 with 1415.5 g and G24 (1324.6 g) and G14 (1182.8 g) followed it.

Image for - Evaluation and Selection of Suitable Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) Types in Turkey
Fig. 1: Total fruit weight (g) of red pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) populations selected from Samsun, Turkey

Image for - Evaluation and Selection of Suitable Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) Types in Turkey
Fig. 2: Average fruit weight (g) of red pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) populations selected from Samsun, Turkey

The average fruit weights ranged from 85.1 g (G20)-125.2 g (G53) (Fig. 2). Range of the fruit number plant-1 was between 7.2 and 13.5. G24 had the highest fruit number plant-1 (13.5) while that of G1 was the lowest (7.2) (Fig. 3).

Image for - Evaluation and Selection of Suitable Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) Types in Turkey
Fig. 3: Average fruit number plant-1 of red pepper (Capsicum annuum var. conoides Mill.) populations selected from Bafra plain of Turkey


Genetic resources for a cultivated species are generally regarded as a gene pool of cultivars, species and genera that can be utilized as sources of additional genetic variation for crop improvement. Prospects are good for the further improvement of all cultivated species of Capsicum through breeding (Pickersgill, 1997). The strategy of the Capsicum breeder is to assemble into a cultivar the superior genetic potential for yield and improved quality (Bosland, 1993).

The variation for plant and fruit types was observed in the study and their presence was sourced by human preference. Selection within the various species for different uses, for example for consumption as a vegetable, or consumption fresh versus consumption dried, has led to a further partitioning of the genetic diversity within each species. The main difficulties are associated with the need to select simultaneously both for fruit yield components and for the very specific components of quality, such as fruit colour, flesh thickness, ascorbic acid, TDW, TSS, etc., required by the consumer.

This study showed that red pepper genotypes from Samsun province of Turkey may be used as a new genetic resource in breeding programmes. Conservation and maintenance of this valuable genetic material is necessary because these populations are an important source of genetic diversity. In present study, fruit weight and dimensions were found to be different from the other red pepper genotypes selected before in different regions of Turkey (Surmeli and Gursoy, 1985; Inan, 1988). Based on, the fruit yield components, four genotypes (G7, G24, G14, G53) were found superior genotypes for future breeding efforts. The yield may be highly affected by insufficient cultural practices and especially environment factors. Yield alone may not be sufficient criteria to describe the performance of a certain genotype, since it does not indicate the relative performance with other genotypes over different environments (Zewdie and Poulos, 1995). So, it is essential to grow these types at different locations to explore genotype x environment interaction effects. For this reason, field experiments will continue at different locations (minimum three places) for two years during the second stage of this research and promising lines will be registered according to the results.

Earliness is an important character in an intensive and multiple cropping system in red pepper production (Ahmed et al., 1993) and this is particularly important in areas where growing season being short for sufficient coloring makes it necessary to develop varieties which should not only matures early. In our studies there was significant difference in the earliness performance among the genotypes.

Red peppers have been consumed during the year as fresh, but also used to produce pepper sauce, preserved by freezing, roast over charcoal and used natural colorful (oleoresin) in Turkey, like the other countries. Therefore, higher vitamin C (ascorbic acid) content, TSS and TDW traits are desirable and important properties for red peppers. With regard to TSS, TDW and ascorbic acid, selected genotypes similar with the earlier literature (Surmeli and Gursoy, 1985; Casali et al., 1986; Chalukova et al., 1993; Ahmed et al., 1996; Kumar et al., 2003). Ahmed et al. (1996) reported a range of 7.17-14.67% for TDW and 36.0-114.0 mg/100 g for ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid values were found between 78.3-188.3 mg/100 g (Kumar et al., 2003) and 21.0-77.6 mg/100 g (Sheela et al., 2004). Also, Brazilian studies for paprika selections showed that selected types had 8.9% TDW (Casali et al., 1986).

In the light of the research results, pepper populations have been improved by farmers through mass selection for centuries in Turkey. Their cultivation as a percentage of the entire cultivated area for pepper is reducing. Compared with commercial cultivars, the populations of Turkish pepper are less productive and their fruits lack uniformity. In conclusion, we have presented some characteristics of red pepper genotypes grown in the Black Sea Region of Turkey. These populations are a valuable genetic resource and should either be registered and released as commercial cultivars, after evaluation and selection, or conserved in the Turkey Seed Gene Bank for use in future breeding programmes. Otherwise, more selection studies are necessary to provide the raw material for future breeding efforts in Turkey.


We are grateful to the Ministry of Agriculture, DPT, KTAE for supporting the project titled Turkey Hybrid Vegetable Seed Production project.

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