Samantha Beck, Utah Valley University
Capsicum annuum (hot chili pepper) originated in Central and South America but due to its many economically important characteristics this species is now used all throughout the world in many varied applications. Encompassing many diverse varieties, each with distinctive beneficial characteristics such as spiciness (pungency), this species has become a focal point for research. The “pungency” is due to its secondary metabolites called Capasaicinoids (Capsaicin and Dihydrocapsaicin among others); making these varieties useful in food products and the pharmaceutical industry. Metabolites from C. annuum have shown to be effective against inflammation, pain, psoriasis, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis and other ailments. Evidence also has shown that these secondary metabolites (Capasaicinoids) trigger cell suicide in prostate cancer cell lines. Micropropagation of this important species is crucial for breeding programs, analysis of secondary metabolites, propagation at industrial level and development of research in different fields. This research evaluates the effects of different plant growth regulators on the embryogenesis and organogenesis of three varieties of pepper: Jalapeno, Cayenne and Thai. Reliable organogenesis and embryogenesis methods in these varieties have not been published. Our results show that callus growth was stimulated in these varieties with MS media amended with 5μM BAP (6-Benzylaminopurine) and 2.5μM 2,4-D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic). The response to fruit extract on callus growth was evaluated; the Jalapeno variety responded positively to the addition of fruit extract whereas the Thai variety did not show induction of callus. Additional effects of different concentrations of growth regulators and different medium on embryogenesis and organogenesis will be described. This research provides valuable information that can be used by researchers and commercial propagators.