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Methods of evaluation of capsicum fruit


, : Methods of evaluation of capsicum fruit. Farmacognosia [Madrid] 17(43): 3-13

The active principle, capsaicin, is difficult to determine because it has no specific reaction. The Swiss and U. S. pharmacopeias have used a primitive bio-assay (taste sensation) which has the disadvantage of one test precluding a second test in the same individual within about 3 hrs. The gravimetric method is unhandy due to the difficulty of crystallizing capsaicin. Efforts have been made to develop a colorimetric assay: Fodor (1931) used vanadium oxytrichloride which is amts. as little as 1/60 mg. gave a blue color with acetone exts. of C; later he used ammonium monovanadate with.HCl. Objection: interference by other colored substances in capsicum. Hippenmeier (1949) used the blue color formed with phosphmolybdic acid; the method required much apparatus and time. Schulte and Kruger (1956) developed a method satisfactory for large laboratories with optical equipment for the colorimetric detns. but not suited to the pharmacy. S. has developed a method practicable for the pharmacist: 2 g. capsicum is shaken with 20 ml. alcohol 90%, an aliquot of 10 ml. is percolated through a column of activated carbon-Al2O3 (1:100), the column washed with sufficient alcohol to furnish 50 ml. of filtrate, which is evaporated. The residue is dissolved in sufficient acetone to make 5 ml., which is transferred to a test-tube, 9 drops strong HC1 is added and 0.19 g. ammonium monovanadate, producing a blue color. This is compared with a color standard made by dissolving 0.36 g. vanillin in 100 ml. acetone and which receives the same reagent treatment as the capsicum product. Comparison is made by optical inspection: if lighter in color than the standard, the sample is considered inferior to normal quality, if as dark or darker, it is considered equivalent or superior.

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