Comparison of the mineral content of processed spice samples of sweet and hot paprika from the szeged region*

Attila Ördög, Péter Poór, Dubravka Štajner, Boris Popović, Zoltán Bátori, I. Tari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ground paprika is an important product of traditional agriculture in Hungary, which is used not only as a spice but also as a natural colour additive in cookery worldwide. There are two main types of paprika based on its pungency: sweet and hot peppers. The content of metals in paprika samples is essential for food safety and quality; in addition, it provides elemental fingerprints about the region where the pepper was produced. A multi-elemental analysis of sweet and hot paprika samples originating from the Szeged region, Hungary, and from Serbia was performed by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), and their mineral composition was compared. It has been demonstrated by principal component analysis (PCA) that the samples containing the highest amounts of K, Mg, Mo and As were among hot paprika samples, while the lowest amounts of Mg, B and As and the highest amounts of Cu were mostly found in sweet paprika. The pungent compound in hot pepper is capsaicin synthesized from valine and phenylalanine in placentas of hot pepper. Mo is a component of molybdopterin in nitrate reductase, Mg2+ is a metal cofactor of glutamine synthetase and acetolactate synthase, participating in ammonia assimilation and in biosynthesis of valine, respectively. Thus, these elements improve the nitrate assimilation and amino acid synthesis, as a result of which they can promote the biosynthesis of capsaicin and development of pungency. Moreover, a higher level of B can be used for the determination of geographical origin of Hungarian paprika.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-530
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Elementology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018



  • Capsicum annuum L. cv. longum
  • Ground paprika samples
  • Hot and sweet paprika
  • ICP-MS
  • Macro- and microelement content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Pollution
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this