The Development of Pepper Cultivation

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The Development of Pepper Cultivation

Capsicum is a Latin plant of the Solanaceae family, native to the American continent, and cultivated all over the world. This self-pollinating crop prefers soil temperatures ranging between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, is sensitive to frost, but not affected much by exposure to light.

There are about 30 basic types of pepper, and international seed companies have carried out hybridization operations and reached several hundreds of different types and patterns in shape, size, color, taste and degree of pungency.

Capsaicin (methylphenyl noninamide) is responsible for the hot and pungent taste of pepper, and it is concentrated in the seeds and on the layer surrounding the inner ribs (septa) that divide the fruit into sections. It is measured in a unit called Scoville SHU (American pharmacologist and biochemist 1912), and it scales from zero for sweet peppers which contain a recessive gene that prevents the manufacture of the substance, to about 2,500 to 8,000 for regular chili peppers. Carolina Reaper pepper is considered the fiercest and most dangerous type of chili pepper, its content of which exceeds 2 million Scoville.

Pepper contains a high percentage of vitamin C (twice the percentage found in lemon), and it also contains vitamin E and several other minerals and vitamins that help fight oxidation and inflammation in the body, which may reduce the risk of cancer, and are considered a stimulant of blood circulation and pain reliever, and the latest use of the substance as a natural insecticide, and pepper spray is extracted from it as a non-lethal means of self-defense.

While the Mediterranean regions grows both types of hot and sweet peppers, notably Lamuyo, Blocky, Dulce, colored varieties of peppers have spread: yellow, orange, purple, off-white, chocolate, which are export varieties that are sold at high prices and give good profits to farmers, but their roots are not resistant to soil diseases.

The repeated cultivation of pepper, especially colored varieties that are sensitive to soil diseases, led to the spread of intractable pests in the soil (nematodes, various fungal diseases including Fusarium, corky roots and others…)

 

The good results given by the idea of grafting tomatoes, eggplants and cucurbits on rootstocks that are resistant to various soil pests, which naturally led to an increase in the productivity per unit area, which made it natural to switch the cultivation of peppers in the coast to grafting on rootstockss resistant to various soil pests.

The Japanese company Taki is considered a pioneer in the production of vegetable grafting roots, especially that the idea of grafting vegetables began in Japan at the beginning of the last century.

The rootstock RAMBO is one of the most important rootstocks of the company. It is resistant to fungal diseases, nematodes and viral diseases that affect pepper. It is also active at low soil temperatures, which will certainly result in continued growth, increased production, and reduced use of harmful chemicals.

Eng. Nour Al Dein Haydarie

Maryse Bou Zeid

mbouzeid@debbaneagri.com

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