Unlocking the mystery of skin cracking in chili peppers

The outermost epidermal cell layer of fleshy fruit is surrounded by a hydrophobic cuticle, notably thicker than that found on vegetative tissues. This cuticle, primarily composed of the cutin polymer, also contains waxes and sometimes polysaccharides. It serves crucial functions, including regulating water and gas transport, protection against pathogens, and shielding from UV radiation. Failure of the fruit skin, which can manifest in ways ranging from browning to cracking, negatively impacts the fruit's development, appearance, and marketability.

When the skin is damaged, some fruits can heal by forming a secondary tissue comprising suberin and lignin polymers. However, the exact reasons behind fruit skin cracking and the sequence of events leading to it remain inadequately understood.

Horticulture Research published a research paper entitled "Microscopic and metabolic investigations disclose the factors that lead to skin cracking in chili-type pepper fruit varieties."

In this study, researchers examined two varieties: Numex Garnet with intact skin and Vezena Slatka with cracked skin, to understand the causes of skin cracking in chili peppers (Capsicum annuum L.).

Read more at phys.org

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