Antibacterial activity of jalapeño pepper (Capsicum annuum var. annuum) extract fractions against select foodborne pathogens


Capsicum annuum fruits have been investigated for antimicrobial activity in a number of studies. Capsaicin or other cinnamic acid pathway intermediates are often suggested to be the antimicrobial component, however there are conflicting results. No research has specifically fractionated jalapeño pepper (Capsicum annuum var. annuum) extract to isolate and identify compound(s) responsible for inhibition. In this study, fractions were collected from jalapeño pepper extracts using reverse-phase HPLC and tested for antibacterial activity using the disk diffusion method. Following initial fractionation, two fractions (E and F) displayed antibacterial activity against all three pathogens (p > .05). Commercial standards were screened to determine when they elude and it was found that capsaicin elutes at the same time as fraction E. Fractions E and F were subject to further HPLC fractionation and antibacterial analysis using two methods. The only fraction to display clear inhibition using both was fraction E1, inhibiting the growth of L. monocytogenes. Fraction E1 was analyzed using HPLC-MS. The resulting mass spectra revealed fraction E1 contained compounds belonging to a group of C. annuum-specific compounds known as capsianosides. Limited research is available on antibacterial activity of capsianosides, and a pure commercial standard is not available. In order to confirm the potential antimicrobial activity of the compound(s) isolated, methods need to be developed to isolate and purify capsianosides specifically from jalapeño peppers.