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Quality, typicity and potential valorization of Piper borbonense, a poorly known wild pepper from Reunion Island

  • Weil, Mathieu
  • Boulanger, Renaud
  • Morel, Gilles
  • Servent, Adrien
  • Shum Cheong Sing, Alain
  • Bohuon, Philippe
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2020
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Introduction – Piper borbonense from Reunion Island is an overlooked wild pepper that remains unutilized today. The purpose of this multidisciplinary work was to study its anatomy, morphology and biochemical composition with a view to its possible commercial development. Materials and methods – We determined its biochemical composition using, notably, gas and liquid chromatography plus spectroscopic methods. Results and discussion – This pepper differs from Piper nigrum through the pedicel, which forms an integral part of the peppercorn. It can be distinguished from other tailed peppers, such as Piper cubeba and wild peppers from Madagascar, through its ovoid shape. Its compounds of interest, essential oil and piperine, are mostly present in the perisperm. Starch (41% db) is its main constituent. Piper borbonense has low pungency (piperine content: 0.2% db) and high aroma potential (essential oil content: 9.8% db), distinguishing it from Piper nigrum and bringing it closer to the tailed peppers, such as Piper cubeba and the wild peppers of Madagascar. Its aroma composition, very rich in monoterpenes, notably limonene (27%), can be considered as that of a good quality pepper. Conclusion – The typicity of Piper borbonense affords an interesting potential for domestication and valorization.

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